Arctic Monkeys

Humbug

Written by: TL on 31/08/2009 19:31:31

In all honesty, I admit I have traditionally been prone to neglect giving Arctic Monkeys praise where praise, at least to most others, have seemed to be due. Unsurprisingly, past disappointments from the band is to blame, specifically in the live setting where the British hot shots have taken annoyingly after the masters of boredom themselves (read: Oasis), and tend to just stand and deliver their stuff in as still and un-rock'n'roll manner possible - however, with the release of their third solid record out of three possible, titled "Humbug", the 'Monkeys are effectively forcing me to give them some credit and admit that, on record at least, they are in fact quite good.

Don't get me wrong, the British hysteria-machine can still fend for itself when it comes to hyping the band up to a status of "Saviors of British Rock" or whatever they're calling them these days, I will merely settle for stating that both previous albums had songs on them that have stood the test of time, seeming as enjoyable today as they were in those brief periods where you weren't throwing up from hearing them raped constantly on the radio.

Such seems to also be the case with "Humbug", and while AM sound pretty much as could be expected of them, if one was to point out some development, it's only too easy to state that this album builds logically upon the progression made between the first and the second album. What that effectively means is that these youngsters have seemingly grown up fast, and that high tempo and "looking good on the dance floor", has been exchanged for mellower, subdued songs, jam packed with moody guitar licks and fuzzy bass lines that wouldn't seem odd sitting in the score to a Tarantino movie.

On top of the minimalistic, garage-ish instrumentation, frontman Turner calmly weaves his lines of gutter poetry, and the two leading singles (if the band's myspace player is to be believed) "Crying Lightning" and "Dangerous Animals" are both well chosen, as they make good impressions with strong performances and easily memorable hook lines. On a personal note though, I do think the song to remember from this album is going to end up being "Cornerstone", which, despite its dreadful first catch phrase "she was close, close enough to be your ghost, but my chances turned to toast, when I asked her if, I could call her your name", has the kind of persistent charm that inevitably wins over even the most stoic resistance.

Apart from those and a couple of other highlights, the rest of the album seems, as was the case with its predecessors, to be of solid quality but also of a less memorable sort. It's cool and satisfying to listen to, and it shows a very elegant and mature side of the band, however, it just won't take over your speakers the way their debut did, and maybe, just maybe, Arctic Monkeys should consider not calming down too much if they really really want to rock our socks off again. After all, when only "Pretty Visitors" dares to make any real noise, things can get a tiny bit dozy just once in a while.

Download: Crying Lightning, Cornerstone, Pretty Visitors, Dance Little Liar
For The Fans Of: Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs
Listen: myspace.com/arcticmonkeys

Release Date 25.08.2009
Domino Records

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