Indie/Indie Rock Reviews

Looking Back: Submarine EP

10 years ago, Alex Turner’s ‘Submarine’ EP released, featuring songs written for the film of the same name. If you’ve seen Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, then you’ll know how perfect a match Turner’s songwriting was for that film, the jaded atmosphere of Oliver Tate’s empty and almost stunted world, as he goes through the struggles of his parents dwindling marriage and his own love spell with a girl at school.

The matched reverb riddled and stripped-back approach to Turner’s songwriting makes for such an interesting experience with the context of the Arctic Monkeys’ albums that sandwich the EP. Relinquished from the deep desert production of Humbug, and far from the polished production of Suck It And See, Submarine acts as a transition period between the two like a palette cleanse. In fact track ‘Piledriver Waltz’ getting a rework on Suck It And See, with even lyrical references spilled over the album, it’s clear the intrinsic connection between the two records.

Is it any coincidence that Turner’s songs here make you feel desolate and floaty? Like you’re drifting through the sea in a Submarine? I don’t think so. Whether you’re entranced by the opener, ‘Stuck On The Puzzle – Intro’, or whipped away by the deeper cuts of ‘It’s Hard To Get Around In The Wind’, ‘Hiding Tonight’ or ‘Glass In The Park’, you immediately get a feel for what this story is about.

Turner set out to write songs for Oliver Tate, love songs, and how the simple bliss of those feelings especially as a teenager can feel so strong, where tunnel vision makes the rest of the world seem irrelevant for the time being. Submarine really enhances those feelings and makes for such an intimate listening experience, in an almost bittersweet way depending on how you the listener perceive his words.

Although the whole EP is filled with magic through its 6 songs, it’s clear to all that its two ‘singles’ are the ones most favoured and listened to. Of course, I’m talking about the previously mentioned ‘Piledriver Waltz’ and ‘Stuck On The Puzzle’.

I’m not the kind of fool who’s gonna sit and sing to you about stars, girl / but last night I looked up into the dark half of the blue, and they’d gone backwards

Turner really pours his heart out here. And I don’t think it matters whether he’s talking from his heart, or through the character of Oliver Tate. He clearly understood Tate to the point where he could construct such a symphonic tone to serenade the film’s story so perfectly, and 10 years later that film and that soundtrack, are still being spoken about today.

If you haven’t come across the film Submarine yet then you really absolutely must, it’s a brilliant motion picture and the best way to experience Turner’s music for the first time. Trust me when I say it’s an experience you really won’t forget.