The album smells like stale cigarettes and feels like early morning monologues. Desperation seeps from the opening track “Do I Wanna Know?” , its relentless percussion drawing the listener close.
Darker, grittier and with a dollop of swagger, Arctic Monkeys triumphantly return with their 5th studio album, AM.Alex Turner and co. again team up with producer James Ford and enlist the help of Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Hommes, on paper the combination appears strange, but heavy basslines, eery guitar licks and falsettos all create a unique Monkeys’ sound.
“R u mine?”, “One For the Road” and “Snap Out of It” all radiate an uncertain swagger, lyrically uneasy but a full bodied sound that is a far cry from their debut material.
R&B vibes are evident throughout the album. “Arabella” opens with, as Turner said himself, something you’d find in Dr Dre’s “The Next Episode”.
Stand-out track “Knee Socks” is a hybrid of the bands heavy sound and clever song structure. The guitar slips and slides effortlessly between frets, met at each end with drummer Matt Helder’s backing vocals. Joined by Josh Homme’s echoed vocals, it makes for easy listening and a vibe that sways you back and forth slowly.
Very few albums are without their dud tracks and, unfortunately, this album is no exception. “I Want It All” is a track that doesn’t really know what to do with itself, uncomfortably slotted between two of the finer tracks on the album. In a way the album needed its imperfections, we’re all human after all. Or Monkeys.