Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ARCTIC MONKEYS: SUCK IT AND SEE



Arctic Monkeys kicked the door down in 2006, exploding around the world as a relatively straightforward, wise-cracking indie rock band. By 2009, they'd ditched the tracksuits and picked up labels like 'psychedelic rock', 'neo-psychedelia' and the always in vogue 'post punk revival'. Suck It And See, the band's fourth full length, while steeped in psychedelic imagery and obscure references to the weather and grizzly bears, marks a return to Arctic Monkeys' more 'classic singer-songwriter' sound. In other words, the best of both worlds.

On second album Favourite Worst Nightmare, a dark cloud rose over Arctic Monkeys. Still, the songs were easy to get into and instantly addictive. Co-produced by Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and longtime Monkeys collaborator James Ford, third album Humbug drifted off on a psychedelic tangent. Frontman Alex Turner grew his hair out, penned acid-trip-sounding lines about propellers and crying lightning and the band posed in sepia-soaked, retro hipster photos wearing Black Sabbath shirts and beards.



Just like Humbug, Suck It and See washes over like a helium-laced balloon... at first. But the more you listen, the more it all starts to make sense and sink it. Eventually, you realise just how good these four Sheffield 20-somethings are at song writing. There's a kind of timeless air to the album (and the band, really). And
damn that Alex Turner's got a way with words. Choice lines this time around include, "Called up to listen to the voice of reason and got the answering machine" and "If you're gonna try and walk on water make sure you wear your comfortable shoes".

Closing track "That's Where You're Wrong" reeks of The Cure and shows that, if they want to, Arctic Monkeys can do simple and beautiful. "Library Pictures" is the album's lone up-tempo track. And overall, as good as it is, there isn't enough "Do Me A Favour" for my liking. The second half of the album's pretty wallowing and could have done with another banger. But the more you listen, the more it grows on you. And as confusing as it was the first time I heard it, "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've moved Your Chair" is my current favourite.

www.arcticmonkeys.com

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