Arctic Monkeys are a pack of smooth English animals; lyrically and sonically apt, evolving with every step they take towards perfecting their own kind. Backed with meaty bass and drums it feels like a cross between Suck It and See (2011) and Humbug (2009). Both pre-released singles “Are You Mine?” and “Do I Wanna Know?” had set my expectations far above par. Before the album’s release, in an interview with NME, frontman Alex Turner described the record as housing an entanglement of hip-hop and rock’n’roll. This made me uneasy as to what the rest of the tracks would taste like. I couldn’t imagine the slow dark evolution the band had gone through fitting in with the specific shape of gangland tropes and rapid release raps. Luckily what was taken away was the immediacy and fluid nature exemplified by the genre. Nothing extra or unneeded like most might have thought when the rumours went around.
AM is genre-blending gone right. Sharp and unzipped, the expected qualities of the band’s brand remain, while fresh flavours satisfy and intrigue. The desire for more is what anyone wants – to care enough to tune in and figure out what was meant by this or that. The pace is well executed, giving the listener the right amount of breath between each track, saving the best parts, in my opinion, for the end. The thumping excuse to shake, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” relates well with the one-track mindedness of being under the influence. It paints a well-oiled picture of modern youths disabled by the efficiency of cellphones. “Snap Out Of It”, in thunderous demeanour and scope, is totally uproarious in its intent. Unexpected falsettos rush over in good old-fashioned rock’n’roll.
The minimalist album artwork with its black background and white wavelength eyes keeps it simple and cool. The neutral stare expresses a take-it-or-leave it kind of vibe. An intelligent choice in my opinion, having a likeness to the record’s vibrations. Thematically, the search for women day or night and the fight for would-be desires is pervasive. However, the unarguable attribute of cool is indisputable, and what could anyone else ask from a pack of coiled mammals?
The charm of this record is in its uncompromising intimacy and mature intent that happily leaks through earbuds and stereos. The vivacious sentiments of quick wit and banging good vibes overall make this one their latest and greatest yet. You owe it to yourself to sample and digest, so go steal it sensibly so you can come join the rest of us.
Check out the video for “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”: