Band: Arctic Monkeys
A woozy, psychedelic collection cooked up in the Californian desert, Arctic Monkeys latest album, AM, is the sound of Sheffield via San Francisco.
Fans expecting anything approaching the kinetic, snot-punk blast of the English groups highly revered 2006 debut, Whatever People Say I Am, Thats What Im Not, will be disappointed as frontman Alex Turner and cohorts rarely break a sweat strutting and swaggering their way through 12 tasty rock nuggets.
Turner cites Aaliyah and Black Sabbath as album influences and, when the R&B backing vocals of One for the Road give way to a punishing guitar solo from Queens of the Stone Ages Josh Homme, a potentially unholy marriage makes perfect sense. Other highlights include the crunching Arabella (complete with riff borrowed from Bad Companys Feel Like Makin Love), glam-rock stomp Snap Out of It and starlit ballad Mad Sounds sonically one of the most beautiful songs in the bands impressive canon.
The albums harmonic strengths are occasionally undermined by repetitive, perfunctory lyrics. Turner recounts tales of parties and wild nights with such disinterest that one cant help but wonder why he bothered going out in the first place. For a man capable of writing vivid vignettes about working class Britain, the album is startlingly short of quotable lines.
Despite the lyrical letdown, theres a lot to admire about Arctic Monkeys fifth album, the bands self-professed West Coast record. The sunshine obviously suits them.