Arctic Monkeys – AM

A wickedly thrilling fifth album from Alex Turner and company...

Five albums in, and things are getting kinda sinister for Arctic Monkeys.

Welding inspiration from hip-hop greats with rock’s titans, ‘AM’ is built upon portentous beats that are dark and intimidating, yet wickedly thrilling.

‘Arabella’, for example, suggests Led Zeppelin covering Easy-E’s ‘Boyz-n-The-Hood’. Meanwhile, the Josh Homme-featuring ‘One For The Road’ borrows the “whoo whoos” from the Stones’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and evokes its fiendish undertones.

The danger level is emphasised by Alex Turner’s typically caustic lyricism, so sharp and intricate in its detail, focus, and imagery.

In opener ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, he sings the beautifully bittersweet line: “There’s this tune that I found / That makes me think of you somehow / And I play it on repeat / Until I fall asleep.” He then counters it with the fabulously mundane: “Spilling drinks on my settee.” And against the stomping glam rock of ‘I Want It All’, his falsetto is distinctly unnerving.

So, there’s heavy-hop, there’s glam, there’s the dense Lennon-like ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’, and there’s shades of the Velvets in ‘Mad Sounds’ and the haunting closer, ‘I Wanna Be Yours’.

All of these stylistic inspirations make ‘AM’ an invigorating experience. It continues the band’s playful diversion from the Mojave-darkness of ‘Humbug’ that ‘Suck It And See’ heralded.

Left incited and excited by the naughty aggression of ‘AM’, an appropriately suggestive message to the album from the listener can be gleamed from ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’: “I just want you to do me no good.”


Words: Simon Harper

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