james debate
james debate

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Genre Indie Rock
Label Domino
Producers James Ford, Ross Orton

arctic monkeys AM album review

While the Arctic Monkeys were quick to achieve mainstream success following their record setting 2006 debut, it's a stretch to say that they've advanced much beyond those early heights.

The band have stuck closely, too close in fact, to the smoky, indie post-punk sound that earned them such critical and commercial success, with the result that while many of those early singles have become ingrained in the pop culture landscape, it's hard to point to anything from recent albums that will live as long in the memory. It's all the more surprising considering the song-writing depth and often the brilliance that frontman Alex Turner has shown himself to possess over the years, particularly with his solo work and side projects like the Last Shadow Puppets.

But with their superb fifth studio album AM, Arctic Monkeys have inarguably reached a new level in the music world. AM takes full advantage of Turner's range, and influences from all over the music landscape. The band moves away from its sophomoric origins and in a much more serious direction, indulging the audience in everything from classically inspired heavy rock and roll to silky late-night lounge anthems.

An album highlight Fireside shows how the band have matured. A rich, 1960s infused melody very reminiscent of Turner's Last Shadow Puppets project dances around more accomplished songwriting. Elsewhere No 1 Party Anthem showcases Turner at his contemplative best, with heartbreaking lyrics that are about as far removed from early Arctic Monkeys work as Michael Buble. Tracks like these show a new softer side of the Arctic Monkeys but still ring with Turner's unmistakably subversive venom to let you know that it's an Arctic Monkeys song.

That's not to say that there aren't a few proper rock songs. Arabella is classic Arctic Monkeys that the fans know and love, but even the most devoted of longterm fans will appreciate the broadening of horizons with Arctic Monkeys' best album yet, and an album that cements their position as one of the premier rock bands of the moment.

Must Listen:
No 1 Party Anthem
Mad Sounds

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