What makes the Arctic Monkeys such a great band is their adaptation. They know that the death of British Indie is coming and a new genre is going to come out of its ashes – Alex Turner is trying to find it. The youthful style has been well and truly shed; it did come as a bit of a shock to most with Humbug, but having got used to the idea of a matured band that can come up with some really refined and beautiful songs. The wit of Turner’s first-person narrative and intense melodies from their earlier works particularly in Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not have been replaced by subtlety and a real sense of important to me as a listener (probably due to a personal partiality to the metaphysical side of lyricism). The thing is, both are equally good, this is clearly not going to be about whether Suck It And See is better than the Monkey’s first album, let alone the fact that they have moved so far away from the likes of When The Sun Goes Down to become almost incomparable.
The Laziness of the album artwork is unimpressive but gives you an idea of what they are after from listeners; don’t go on the fact that our last one was rubbish and basically saying just have a fucking listen to the music, it’s really good. After sucking it can be said that it is very well crafted and surprisingly immediate, at least in comparison to Humbug which is still heavy listening. Predominantly this immediacy is heard on The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala and Don’t Sit Down ’Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair both strikingly good songs. The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala however is the stand out song on the album about the insatiable intrigue into the mysteries of women. This is a really great song in which Turner can get away with a chorus consisting of Shalalala’s and in fact add to the brilliant and mysticism behind the song’s meaning. Stand-alone this is one of the best songs of the year.
Another exceptional track on the album, Reckless Serenade is a charming endeavour to yet again win the love of a woman, as you can tell a recurring theme. This is a very chilled out song, giving the impression that the serenade is almost fated to be successful despite the recklessness of the pursuit. The confidence of Alex Turner’s delivery only adds to the effect making walking down the street in shades a necessity whilst listening to this track. This could be the sun and L.A. permeating the Arctic Monkey’s sound and generating the confidence and coolness behind the album as a whole. They obviously had quite a lot of cool before now; the music has just become more chilled and refined in its coolness.
It has a new fresher sound that has probably come about because of the majority of the album being recorded with live takes as opposed to the highly produced Humbug. That’s Where Your Wrong best illustrates this element, with a lovely guitar section and chorus. It is beginning to show itself to be the most emotive and soul affecting track on the album. The earlier statement saying The Hellcat is the standout track on Suck It And See had to be due to its immediacy, whereas That’s Where Your Wrong is a bit more of a grower and it has clearly grown into the gem of the album – and frankly, it seems to have more growing to do.
She’s Thunderstorms, similarly to That’s Where Your Wrong takes on the mystique and freshness that defines the whole album. The mystery within many tracks, such as That’s Where Your Wrong, Black Treacle and Library Pictures; both lyrically and musically move the Arctic Monkeys sound on from the Indie rock genre. However the lack of literalism may put fans of Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not off, but it really shouldn’t – just listen, they have tried, if not consciously to make this album more accessible and they have succeeded.
One of the very few unexciting songs, All My Own Stunts is a clear evolutionary hangover from Humbug, along the lines of My Propeller something that Suck It And See could really do without. In other cases the exceptional lyrics on track eleven, Suck It And See and Love Is A Laserquest bring you some of Turner’s class. Piledriver Waltz is pretty unremarkable if even a little irritating due to its mundane delivery and lyrics, which is uncharacteristic of the rest of the songs on a very well written album. Brick by Brick, the song pre-released to put everyone off the trail of how the rest of the album would sound – a very simple guitar track which is actually much more interesting, with a very similar riff to The White Stripes’ Girl You Have No Faith In Medicine and fun than the not so exulted album filers.
Suck It And See is a must listen for 2011, very different from the early works but with a more blatant accessibility. The Arctic Monkeys have surprised, after Humbug it wasn’t looking good but with Suck It And See they have shown that they have still got it in them to produce a great record. Well done Alex and Co.
- That’s Where Your Wrong
- The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
- Reckless Serenade
- Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
- She’s Thunderstorms
Oscar B. Wilson