fri 01/12/2023

CD: Arctic Monkeys - AM | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Arctic Monkeys - AM

CD: Arctic Monkeys - AM

Swapping Sheffield for the Sunshine State, the Arctic Monkeys return

A new morning? The return of Alex Turner & co. on 'AM'

There’s something about the Arctic Monkeys that calls to mind the Rolling Stones. Not now, obviously - it might feel like it’s been forever since four messy hairdos and northern accents burst out of Sheffield, though in truth it’s only been about a decade - but the Stones that scandalised an America expecting another Beatles with their sleazy, bluesy rock.

Recorded in California, if there’s one thing AM does not sound like it’s an album by a band whose name still sounds like a practical joke dreamed up in some spotty kid’s bedroom.

Because AM is - despite a collection of song titles that come over like a bunch of badly put-together text messages - a deadly serious record, with far more in common with the self-confident sex appeal of the Monkeys’ new buddy Josh Homme than the Jake Bugg types aping, as it were, their cheeky debut. It’s obvious right off of the starting blocks, as album opener “Do I Wanna Know?” totters and staggers lustily around handclaps and a huge, magnificent riff. It’s a tower of a song, although its slightly awkward lyrics (“I dreamt about you every night this week... do I wanna know if the feeling flows both ways?”) hint at something far deeper buried beneath the bluster.

After that, the slightly chaotic comeback singles “R U Mine?” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” almost feel like a disappointment, although the clattering percussion and urban poetry of the lyrics to the former undoubtedly make a showstopper when turned up to 11 in the flashing strobe lights of an arena tour. The tracks that stand out are instead those that dare to be a little different: see the infectious beat and crooning falsetto backing vocals, bringing truth to those hip hop references the band keep making in interviews, on “One For The Road”; or gorgeously melancholic torch song “No. 1 Party Anthem”. AM works best if you don’t expect it to define another decade - in fact, if you don’t expect anything at all.

Overleaf: listen to "Do I Wanna Know?"

AM works best if you don’t expect it to define another decade


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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