ARCTIC MONKEYS – HUMBUG

They’re not from Neverland, they’re from Rotherham!

(I know, I know they’re from Sheffield)

Unlike Peter Pan though, it appears that these cheeky northern scamps have grown up. Gone is the blistering power chord driven belters that prevailed on the first album and the dance elements from the second have also been reined in. James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco) who produced Favourite Worst Nightmare, is only on production duties on 3 of tracks, with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) now cracking the whip on the bulk of Humbug.

Humbug

On first impressions Humbug is a reserved album, more down tempo tracks with typical rock drumming when compared to FWN. At times I had to remind myself this is an Arctic Monkeys album and not another Alex turner side project. I was willing them at times to ‘give it some bastard’, so accommodated i was with their penchant for doing this on their last 2 albums. There are moments of decent ‘bastard’ particularly on Potion Approaching, Dance Little Liar & Pretty Visitors but this is pale when compared to ‘I bet you look Good….’ and ‘Brianstorm’. But perseverance is a wonderful thing, and after a couple of listens, it becomes apparent this album is not about cheap hits, but more subtle intricacies and the telling of a more finely crafted tale.

Homme’s production is superb and focuses on a less is more approach, with big, forceful guitars dominanting the mix. Turner’s lyrics are still witty, and a cause for a couple of wry smiles, especially on the first track Propellor. Matt Helder’s drumming is also worthy of a mention (especially on the excellent Pretty visitors) and this band is becoming as much about him and his sticks as it is about Alex Turner and his lyrics.

Overall It’s a fascinating listen, and an album that stakes their claim to be the preeminent British guitar band.

Also featured as a b-side to Crying Lightning is a more than admirable cover of Red Right Hand originally by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Is that a link below? I believe it is…

Arctic Monkeys – Red Right Hand

Flanchez

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