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Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Suck It and See", the summery side of Arctic Monkeys

Suck It and See- Arctic Monkeys

Since 2006 the Monkeys have been faithful to what now seems like a prophecy, their first album title, "Whatever People Sat I Am, That's What I'm Not". Typecasting the Brits under one category of indie style is a lost battle, and every new record is a surprising new side of the band. This time, one that could be called "summery". A side that fits them very well.

The first songs we heard from the record seemed to play cluelessness with us, on a first approach. The stoner rock of "Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair" and the more playful, "vintage" sounding "Brick by Brick" were a bit dissapointing, recalling their previous album "Humbug" on a pretty derivative way. Together with the poor album artwork, have to say lowered the expectations on their new effort. But judging the Arctic Monkeys in advance has proven wrong again.

Because these two and "Libray Pictures", recalling early, stampede mode, Monkeys, are the exceptions on "Suck It and See", which is a warm and mellow, sometimes with a stripped down feeling, album. One could easily point out that it has a lot to do with Alex Turner's solo adventure on the "Submarine" soundtrack. As a matter of fact, in a full band version, it also includes the gorgeous “Piledriver Waltz” from that collaboration. But Turner and Co. go way further in here. With excellent results.

Is their poppier record without a doubt. But a refined and classy one, where instruments sound cohesive instead of edgier, the Monkeys trademark in the form of sharp riffs and jagged drumming during 5 years. The album opener “She’s Thunderstorms” might be the perfect example. There's a sense the song could stop any second before exploding into a frantic guitar assault, but they let the melody soar with grace, in the same vein of the wonderful "Black Treacle".

There's plenty more on the album. “Reckless Serenade” is pure pop perfection, a strong contender to be on the best-of the year lists. The "Hellcat Spangled Shalalala", and "Suck It and See" and "That's Where You're Wrong" (yes, a bit Stone Roses), are pop gems, disarmingly catchy as well. And "Love is a Laserquest", second ballad of the record, is lovely, reaffirming that one of the best improvements of the Monkeys is that Turner, always a great lyricist, has become a very good singer. The straightforward storyteller is now a meditative, ironic, romantic sometimes, crooner. He's definitely among the most interesting frontman of indie. And together with his band, seems they could retain that position for a long time.

Give it a try, they invite you in the album title, "Suck It and See", in their unique, straight and tongue-in-cheek way. I really encourage you to do so. Looking forward to see them live, in a few weeks at FIB Festival!

SCORE: 7,75/10

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