Earlier this year, the Arctic Monkeys reappeared as resident lounge band of the fictitious “Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino”, a lunar base of heavy drinking and hung-over star gazing. It was a ballsy move, a conceptual pivot from their stadium rock which largely worked because of their total commitment to the shtick. From the lyrics to the song titles and Kubrick-esque film clips, everything was the right level of ridiculous.
The new B-side “Anyways” is a perfect epilogue to the record, released late like a post-credits sequence. It’s the lounge band’s final song of the night, after most of the guests have passed through and only the most washed-up barflies are staring into their drinks, or out into space.
Even Alex Turner sounds like he’s had a few, and with breathy ramblings the singer spouts on everything from Bing Crosby to Waka Floka Flame in a matter of lines. You get a definitive sense of the reaching a crossroads, wrap it up now or regret it in the morning. Closing time is a dangerous hour, one where Turner “shares secrets I was taking to the grave” and faces “nosebleeds from epiphanes”. He meanders on his own tagents, sounding as aloof and mysterious as he had the whole record, before finally sending himself home. The piano closes and the song ends on footsteps: he’s out the side door before you’ve finished unpacking the line “philanthropic toga party”.