Is this it? The heavily awaited 4th album from guitar sensations Arctic Monkeys, ‘Suck It and See’. The artwork has been criticised by those considered musically knowledgeable people as sloppy whereas expectant fans have taken this as an encrypted message that ‘we have to wait for the album and not prejudge it’, neither of which explanations have been unveiled to be true. We are pleasantly greeted with the familiar sound of twanging guitars but ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ slowly develops into an Oasis song and just turns boring as the production is not up to standard and Alex’s voice has been mellowed out and generic brutal bashings of drums ring in your ears. It’s clear that Arctic Monkey’s time has passed as the saviours of guitar rock and it’s time to pass the baton onto the southern, younger versions of themselves, The Vaccines. The lyrics have slowly been going downhill and Alex Turner’s Submarine EP had proved this wrong by producing an excellent soundtrack to love, loss and the general problems of being a teenager. This has slightly rubbed off on ‘Suck It and See’; especially on ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ and ‘Black Treacle’.
In retrospect, ‘Suck It and See’ is not at all bad and in fact rather infectious simple rock, most famously done by bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, of which Josh Homme actually collaborated on the production with James Ford. ‘Brick By Brick’ is a straightforward rock song with slightly silly lyrics which gets adrenaline levels going and you won’t be able to help but sing along, chanting ‘brick by brick’ at this summer’s festivals. You cannot deny that Alex Turner and Co. are great at getting people up and dancing and selling out arenas but can they really carry out the critical success they received for the first two albums this far into the future? ‘Library Pictures’ is the closest we get to ‘Whatever You Say I Am, That’s what I’m not’, the frantic drum beats pounding, staccato guitar notes descending into a frenzy. Alex Turner’s voice returns to its original state, the reverberation making Turner’s voice sound younger and they manage to salvage something of what made them Britain’s favourite modern guitar band. This heavy change has boded well for Arctic Monkeys but I fear that their time as a band may come to an end if Alex Turner decides to pursue more of his solo career which has flourished recently.
By Aurora Mitchell