I admit I was a bit caught off guard when I heard that Arctic Monkeys were dropping a new album. After all, it had been less than two years since 2009’s “Humbug” (produced by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age). In the pop world, that might be a long wait. But in my realm, it’s fairly quick.
Needless to say, I was pretty anxious to give it a listen. Having done so, here’s my take on it:
It’s good. Probably very good, but I need to let it sink in.
Their newest effort, “Suck It and See” (10/10 rating for the title) is nothing ground-breaking for the Arctic Monkeys, but it shouldn’t be written off as a repeat either. My best description is that it sounds like a mix of their last two records. It has the airy atmosphere and lower vocal range that “Humbug” did, but has a thicker, more crisp production and is slightly lighter-hearted for the most part.
“Suck It and See” is pretty mid-tempo throughout, and if you’re partial to tracks like 2009’s “Cornerstone”, then you’ll certainly love this record. But they do throw a few curveballs in there, such as the gritty “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” (which almost has an Alice In Chains-esque rhythm section).
And then we have “Library Pictures”, which really perked my ears up. Quick toms, fast quirky guitar, cutting leads… this one sounds almost straight off of their 2006 debut, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”. It was a surprise, and at 2:22 minutes long it really left me wanting to hit that repeat button.
The rest I’ll let you decide for yourself, but overall this newest outing with the Monkeys is a rock solid one. It’ll certainly be getting more repeated plays from me than it’s predecessor did, as much as I enjoy that record.
I only have two real “complaints”: 1) I would love to hear more up-tempo tunes. Mix it up a bit. 2) I was really struck by the quality of tracks like “Crying Lightning” and “My Propeller” from their last album… so far I don’t quite get that same vibe from these tracks. Maybe a few more listens.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
– Clay Lancaster