For those of you who have read my recent articles on the Arctic Monkeys, ‘Can’t Wait to Suck It And See’ and the review of their recent show in Central Park, NY, you will already be aware that I have a lot of time for this band from Sheffield, England.
The population of Sheffield is just over half a million and the city gained a global reputation for steel production during the 19th Century. International competition in iron and steel struck a death knell to the industry in Sheffield during the 1970s and 1980s and this coincided with the collapse of the vast coal mining trade in the area. The economy has recovered somewhat in modern times and the eclectic music scene ranging from, 'The Human League' and 'Pulp', 'Joe Cocker' and, 'Little Man Tate' to the most famous of them all currently, 'Arctic Monkeys' has also only gotten stronger over time.
'Arctic Monkeys' fourth album hit the shelves of Sheffield, the UK and the rest of Europe on Monday 6th of June and in the US just yesterday. Since exploding on to the music scene with, 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' several years ago, I was very intrigued. With two very solid follow ups to debut album, 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' I am delighted to announce that this one could well be the best yet. They have a much larger audience these days and ‘Suck It And See’ will not disappoint the music hordes.
With sounds emanating from last album, Josh Homme inspired, 'Humbug' and the cheekiness and colloquial lyrical rhymes and references of 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' and 'Favourite Worst Nightmare', 'Suck It And See' certainly carries the potential to be their best yet.
The album begins with a twisted little riff on, 'She’s Thunderstorms'. It is a mellow song for the majority, with the Monkeys again reverting back to the calm melodic sound before the eruption of well channeled noise in the chorus. Despite not being blown away after my first listen at their recent Central Park show, it can certainly be a grower. Perhaps to be considered in the 'Cornerstone' from, 'Humbug' mold.
'Black Treacle' is another well composed tune from the Monkeys with the clever lyrics that I associate the band with - “Lately I’ve been seeing things, belly button piercings, in the sky”. Simple, but effective. The first song that dropped from this album, 'Brick by Brick' is, Austin Powers (groovy baby). Think flower power...it's catchy as hell. Albeit a pretty simplistic little tune, it succeeds in reacquainting us with the Monkeys sound of the past and Alex Turner's warm and fuzzy vocals. It's one of those songs that really gets stuck in your head.
'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala' has also grown on me since it's first airing that I saw at Central Park. It sounds like something that, Paul Weller of, The Jam fame would compose and put his skills to. It's very easy to listen to and I love the bass line. Has me singing "shalalala" at various times during the day and is another fun little track with finely constructed and well delivered lyrics from Turner (backed by drummer, Helders).
'Don't Sit Down 'Cause I Moved Your Chair' sounds absolutely fantastic. Almost certainly an extension of some of the moody, dark sounds of, 'Humbug'. This track is in the new version of, 'My Propeller'. 'Don't Sit Down 'Cause I Moved Your Chair' is witty, dark and rocking...this is going to be a massive hit from the new album. 'Library Pictures' is another cracking tune with a lo-fi sound. It's fast and furious and consistent in carrying over some of the darker sounds of 'Humbug' as well as the clever drumbeats and softer tones of their first two albums. The Monkeys seem to love building songs with melodic little pieces before the songs emanate in to a rocking tune on the chorus. 'All My Own Stunts' is another one I consider fantastic in this extremely high point in the album. I simply can't decide between this, 'Library Pictures' and, ‘Don’t Sit Down…’
The album is almost in two parts with the tone switching somewhat after track number seven. 'Reckless Serenade' is the catalyst for this change as we take a turn to the more chilled side in the depiction of a moment of clumsy passion "where teeth collide". In, 'Piledriver Waltz', I envisage myself and Mrs ScoAustin tripping the light fantastic and waltzing around the living room to this one (and I don't look good on the dancefloor). I love the intro to this tune as well as the chorus line – “You look like you’ve been for breakfast at the Heartbreak Hotel”. 'Love Is A Laserquest' continues in this slow, moody, sultry theme.
Title track, 'Suck It And See' is another example of Turner's ability to pen some cheeky, yet serious lyrics – “You're rarer than a can of ‘Dandellion and Burdock’, and those other girls are just post mix lemonade” and “that’s not a skirt girl, that’s a sawn off shotgun, and I can only hope you've got it aimed at me”. I love these school boy like, clever lyrics that, Turner has become the master of.
We finish the twelve track, fourth album with, 'That’s Where You’re Wrong' which kind of puts me in mind of the 80's Manchester sound including, 'James' and, 'The Smiths'. The chorus line is again snappy and intelligent.
Six years and four albums in to their musical career, the Arctic Monkeys again fail to disappoint as so many bands have as they get deeper in to their young career (see Kings of Leon). I have enjoyed each of their albums and think 'Suck It And See' will build upon the success the band have have had to date. Without moving too far away from their traditional sounds, the Arctic Monkeys experiment enough on each release to keep me interested. As a group, they are talented, laid back and oftentimes witty. I like their demeanour and love their music. New favourite album of 2011 so far? Rating 9/10