Arctic Monkeys: AM

4 Dec

Doge is impressed alsoArctic Monkeys’ latest album is slicker than slick. Declared by numerous reviewers to be the English indie rock band’s most American-sounding album yet, AM is bolder and heavier than anything we’ve heard from Arctic Monkeys in the past. Loud, solid bass and drum tracks in combination with fuzzy lead guitar and layered vocals make this album a perfect assimilation of traditional American rock, yet somehow fresher; more complicated.

Flowing from the powerful, provocative bassline of lusty hit single Do I Wanna Know?, through the chaotic anxiety of cross-rhythms in R U Mine?; the sighing, swaying, beseeching No. 1 Party Anthem refrain and the wounded, resigned optimism of Mad Sounds, finally concluding with bitter misery in every slow beat of I Wanna be Yours, the album traces the turbulent journey of being perilously infatuated with someone; perhaps someone pulling you along on a delicate thread.

The title is appropriate too: in its acronym of the band name a reference to the irrational, post-midnight hours in which most of these songs are set; a witty adaption of the common act of lazy naming that is the self-titled album.

Coupled with the album are two of the most creative and fitting music videos I’ve come across in indie rock. Do I Wanna Know? is about the aptest representation of synaesthesia I have ever seen, and its disquieting, Freudian morphing of images impressively mirrors Gerald Scarfe’s work in Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

Why’d you only call me when you’re high?, perhaps in a subtle hats-off to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, presents an astute hallucinogenic representation of drunken obsession.

Overall, I think AM  is a brilliant album in that every track, whilst fitting in well with the album, stands on its own as a unique song.The masterful interplay between dense, attentive instrumental layering and raw basics (particularly in tracks like Snap out of it  and Do I Wanna Know?) is a new height for Arctic Monkeys, however I feel this is somewhat tarnished by the abundance of weak endings in this album. It feels like pure laziness that after so craftily weaving together such tight, catchy instrumental, so many of these songs end very roughly and unimaginatively. Whilst there is something to be said for the surprising sudden-stop ending, it gets repetitive when you hear it five or six times in the space of 40 minutes.

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One Response to “Arctic Monkeys: AM”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Angus & Julia Stone: Self-titled | Sound & Fury - 5 December 2014

    […] but with their self-titled album, it’s as though the brother-sister pair started listening to Arctic Monkeys and bought themselves some black eyeliner, exuding contrast and sharp edges to bring their music […]

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