The Arctic Monkeys’ fifth album (yes fifth!) has just been released and has been met by a kind of critical acclaim that the Sheffield band has become so accustomed to, and for good reason.
Arctic Monkeys ‘AM’ soared to the top of the UK Albums Chart, selling 157,000 copies in its first week to make it the second best selling album of the year behind Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’, and has been nominated for a Mercury Prize for best album. That’s quite a week even by the Monkeys’ high standards, but is it worthy of all the hype?
The album seems to represent the final stage in the evolution of these four lads from Sheffield; they are now visually and audibly indistinguishable from 2006, when they burst on to the seen with their debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ and shattered a whole catalogue of records whilst they were at it.
AM is a gripping record. ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ sets the tone of anguish, uncertainty and heartache that is never far from the surface throughout the next eleven tracks. The album is certainly another triumph for Alex Turner the lyrical genius – here he is clearly troubled by where he stands with a particular member of the fairer sex – and once again the front man packs his lyrics full of emotion via his astute command of the English language.
The strongest three tracks are perhaps the three that the band have already released as singles, with ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ in particular having all the hallmarks of an anthem that will alienate your workmates as you hum it for the 100th time of the day. ‘Arabella’ and ‘Knee Socks’ are slow burners but will also reveal themselves to be gems in their own right after a few listens.
Whilst it is probably a bit much to call this the best Arctic Monkeys album ever, it is certainly a slick, thoughtful and absorbing record that is well worth a listen!