Reviewed by: Stephen Krock
Everyone has that one band that has been around for a while, and every time you hear them, you think, “Huh. Why aren’t these guys the Biggest Thing Ever?” For me, (for many, I’d imagine) that is Arctic Monkeys. Their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was indie punk pop paradise. With a surprise around every corner. While they suffered a slight sophomore slump, they’ve been churning out greatness since their inception. And their newest release, AM, is no different.
The nice thing about Arctic Monkeys is that as I was about to type, “We start off sounding like classic Arctic Monkeys,” I realize this is false. Because Arctic Monkeys is so joyously playful that you can’t pin down just one sound to identify. So instead, I’ll say we start off a little Franz Ferdinandy, but better. (And you know I love me some Franz Ferdinand.) Things gets more subdued and intense on the third track, “One for the Road,” and even more so on the lyrically poetic “Arabella.” Wherein front man Alex Turner croons over kissing the titular girl on the core of a constellation. And the choral rhyme, “The horizon tries, but it’s just not as kind on the eyes,” is an excellent sampling of AM’s beauty and whimsy.
The album’s highlights come at its halfway point, when Turner channels Bowie like a pro and wails out the best darn high school slow dance song you could ask for in “No. 1 Party Anthem.” Which is followed up by the lovely “ooh la la la’s” in “Mad Sounds.” The Monkeys tap into their psychedelic tendencies in “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” An acid-laced romp, complete with boy band harmonoies.
A few songs in the album do fall between the cracks, but all in all, AM is a stellar listen. And to Arctic Monkeys, I quote the final track and say, “I wanna be your vacuum cleaner and breathe in your dust.”