Feature /// Arctic Monkeys: R U Theirs Yet?

Arctic Monkeys 1

Have you ever wondered why some bands in the middle of their careers release self-titled albums when it seems to be more common for a debut record? Simple: it clearly means some big changes. While the fifth effort ‘AM’ from Arctic Monkeys is not strictly self-titled, it still portrays the initials of the band’s name and offers a different look at self-titling albums. Apparently, the acronym AM has a lot of other hidden meanings as well: connections with the 1985’s ‘VU’ by Velvet Underground, the hint at after-midnight time when colours fade and darkness falls and, of course, a new chapter in the band’s life.

Arctic Monkeys have gone a long way since their stunningly successful debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ saw the light of day. But instead of becoming yet another boring indie band or disappearing into nothingness , Arctic Monkeys have been keeping their sound fresh, interesting, always new and very Arctic Monkeys at the same time. Every new album of theirs means going onto music explorations and ends up somewhere truly unique. After all, you won’t be able to have five consecutive records charting at #1 upon release if you only ride on the success of your debut and produce a decade of similar songs, will you?

‘AM’ is, hands down, the heaviest Arctic Monkeys have ever sounded. Natural evolution and music wanderings brought the band from punkish, party-animal-vibe indie into a lush, evocative, intense soundscape – a perfect night-time listening with dark shades and elegantly crafted melodies.  According to Alex Turner, ‘R U Mine?’ was the springboard for the whole album – a starting point which set the bar really high, so the whole of the record started revolving around this single track: Arctic Monkeys aimed at making another 11 songs equally thrilling and got there.

However, the heavier route was adopted by Arctic Monkeys much prior to the release of ‘R U Mine?’. The beginning was marked by 2009’s ‘Humbug’ when Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age stepped in as the producer of the record. But at that time Arctic Monkeys just tested the waters of their new skin. ‘Suck It And See’ (2011) was the second – more confident – step.  ‘AM’ lays the heaviest brick so far in the wall of dark, sexually intense sound with electric atmosphere driven by heavy guitars and viscous melodies. The most special thing about ‘AM’ is that Arctic Monkeys managed to mingle what seems impossible at first sight: truly heavy rock riffs and crisp R&B beats. The result – probably the most original album you’re likely to hear this year.

While the sound on ‘AM’ is heavier and the lads’ looks are smarter, there are some things that never change when we talk Arctic Monkeys. The party vibe is still there (just go to their live show and don’t tell me I haven’t warned you), but it’s more reserved and luxurious. Alex Turner’s  famous sarcastic and eloquent songwriting has acquired great elegance and deals with a much broader range of topics than clubbing alone. Listen to the songs, read between the lines, draw your own conclusions and simply admire the style of one of the best songwriters of our time. And as the final icing on the cake, there sparkles calm, relaxed self-confidence of the band who know what they want from music and what to do to make it sound damn good.

All the Arctic Monkeys’ albums broke numerous records and ‘AM’ is no exception. It charted at #1 straight away, later becoming the second fastest-selling album of 2013 in the UK. This is quite an achievement bearing in mind that the Monkeys are still signed to Domino, which is an independent label. And the reaction to ‘AM’ looks like this special case when direction changes don’t arouse complaints and grumbles from fans, but quite the opposite: massive admiration and worship. Arctic Monkeys know their thing indeed.

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Comments
6 Responses to “Feature /// Arctic Monkeys: R U Theirs Yet?”
  1. Rebecca says:

    Like! They’ve changed so much…in the beginning they were those puppy face insecure little boys” and look at them now! Wow so much convidence on stage. I only hope they won’t get an ‘American band’ with too much attitude. Above all they’re British rockers and I like that! ^^

    • Thanks for reading! Yeah, the change in them is fantastic! It’s so interesting to watch bands evolve. Seeing them live was def one of the top gigs of the year for me. Absolutely mental! Well,, I think they’re no teens and can handle great success 🙂 And they’ll always sound British with this genuinely Northern accent of Alex’s 🙂 This band do have a great personal identity!

      • Rebecca says:

        Indeed they’re no teens anymore (: And you’ve seen them live. So cool, I really really hope they’ll come to Holland next year. They have to! Haha.

      • I hope they come to Holland and you can see them next year!! They put up such a fantastic live show! I even wrote about it here in the blog 🙂 It was truly the party of the year!

  2. eva6kora says:

    Sick review! Love the new album!! x

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