Arctic Monkeys - AM - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Arctic Monkeys - AM

by Greg Spencer Rating:9 Release Date:2013-09-09

Arctic Monkeys may possibly be the kings and saviours of British indie-rock, ever since they stepped out from the Sheffield shadows back in 2006 when their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, became the fastest-selling debut album in British history. Since then they've changed their style somewhat and actually matured musically throughout the years. Now they're back with AM and after a blistering headline slot at Glastonbury this summer, much is anticipated of their latest release.

The first two songs on this album won't surprise many, as 'Do I Wanna Know?' and 'R U Mine?' have already been on the airwaves for a while as the leading singles from the record. They both have everything you'd expect from this band: Elongated guitar riffs reminiscent of The Black Keys, lyrical algorithms conjured by the majestic Alex Turner, and something that most British indie rock bands lack nowadays - uniqueness. This band has felt like the most interesting British group out there for at least 20 years and this album does nothing to quell that notion. Take 'One for the Road' and its rock/soul vibes which indicate that the band aren't happy to sit back and just do the usual thing, they're down for experimenting and pushing the ever-closer indie borders outwards.

When you look at Arctic Monkeys now, they're much cleaner-cut than the dishevelled outfit we saw back in the day. There's almost a Hollywood elegance to them now, with Alex Turner looking less like Pete Doherty and more like Brandon Flowers. Make of that what you will but what's clear is that the music hasn't suffered, it's still as effervescent and rivetingly captivating as ever.

Heck, there are still some filler tracks here, like 'I Want It All' and 'Fireside', that just seem to plod along but if there's any band that can pull off filler it's Arctic Monkeys. Even the songs that aren't as interesting will probably grow on you. Let's be honest, every song here is better than anything from Noel Gallagher's High Flying Bores.

The third single from the record, 'Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?', may not be as engrossing as the previous two singles but it shows that Arctic Monkeys can pull off the fairly slow tempo tracks while simultaneously being more melodic than anything in the charts at the moment. They're also a band still maturing and perfecting/evolving their sound. Three quarters of the way through 'Knee Socks', we get a moment of subtlety, with female vocals which just fit fantastically well in the song, and it's as if there isn't anything this band can't get right.

If you're an Arctic Monkeys fan then this is essential listening. It could be their best work since their 2006 debut record because of its emotive and visceral nature. It has something which was maybe lacking on their previous album, Suck It and See, and reminds us exactly why we love this band with every note that's played and every line that's sung on this album. If you're a fan of music, buy this album.

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