Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

Much hype has surrounded the third long player from the Arctic Monkeys, especially seeing Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age fame was co-producing it. Although only about 39 minutes long (which is perfect for my short attention span) this album did not fail to satisfy. Gone is some of the aggressive, crunchy indie sing-a-long goodness as the band re-introduces themselves with a more mature sound than their previous records. This is no I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor V.2.

The album opens up with a somber, moody and mellow song which definitely caught my attention but you could also get the feeling that Homme had a part in producing. This is definitely a plus, as it is currently on repeat in my head and through my speakers. Next up is the lead single from the band, Crying Lightning, which is being played to death on Triple J but does have the ability to suck people in and create interest in what the rest of the album will sound like.

Throughout the next eight tracks they continue with the calming, almost haunting music, which displays that all that touring has only helped their musicality. Less pimply faced garage rawness but now young men who have got a pretty good grasp on finding the right blend between that raw sound that people love so much without sounding like any of U2’s recent over produced wanks.

One thing that the Arctic Monkeys haven’t lost is their snarky observational lyrics which sometimes almost border on haughty or cavalier. I’m not complaining though, it’s one of the things that I love about them. Their ability to scrutinize a trend or fad and facetiously mock it certainly does entertain me. With their new moodier sound arrives more somber and poetic lyrics. Some gems such as this: “She swam out of tonight’s phantasm, grabbed my hand and made it very clear, there’s absolutely nothing for us here ”

For all those craving the Arctic Monkeys of yester-year I do suggest that you be patient with this record. Give it more than a few plays and let it grow on you. The closest you’ll get on this album are songs such as Potion Approaching & Pretty Visitors. All those naysayers about bands changing up their sound should remember that when it’s done well it’s very rewarding. Take Beck for instance, he is constantly changing his sound but no one bats an eyelid. Although when it’s done badly I feel its alright to whine about it. Don’t even get me started on the sound massacre that is Kings Of Leon’s Only By The Night. Horrible, horrible stuff. So kudos to the Arctic Monkeys for not changing up your sound so much that you won’t alienate those fickle fans out there (I hope).

To quote my friend Russ on the track Potion Approaching “It’s like the Arctic Monkeys and QOTSA had sex… Now that’s an eargasm.”

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