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Arctic Monkeys had a difficult time to live up to their ground breaking album in 2006 when their demos started spreading like wild fire on the internet. Their debut album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” broke a record for the fastest selling debut release in the UK securing their spot in the Indie music scene. Arctic Monkeys might leave you conflicted in a complicated love/hate relationship as you stumble around waiting for better things to come. The four English lads from Sheffield have consistently changed their style since 2006, but the end result of their efforts is technically still indie rock.

Their fifth studio album, “AM”, is rich with American influences but still retains its Sheffield roots. The idea that frontman Alex Turner suggested that their latest record draws influences from Black Sabbath and Dr. Dre may leave you thinking that they are reaching beyond their grasp. It is not that long ago when “Queens of the Stone Age” frontman Josh Homme assisted the “Arctic Monkeys” to punch out 2009’s “Humbug, which toned down the familiar Indie influences to make way for the darker QOTSA sound.

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys

This time round, Homme’s input is restricted to two vocal cameos, complimenting the album with style falsetto backing vocals one would expect from the slick Californian rocker. It is however impossible to remove Homme’s influence completely based on the overall sound produced, which is consistent with Homme subtle fingerprint.  “AM” is carefully crafted to capture the imagination with heartfelt undertones of helter skelter romances, cleverly hooked together with a 90s G-funk and stoner-rock twist.

Frontman Alex Turner

Frontman Alex Turner

“Do I Wanna Know?,” “One For The Road,” and “Arabella” swirls with rock funk, smooth and smoldering like ice cubes hitting a whiskey glass in slow-motion. “R U Mine?” shakes the foundation with slick guitar riffs and steady paced drums that sits on par with garage rockers “The Black Keys.” The serious and insightful “No. 1 Party Anthem,” sees Turner play his hand at a ballad that takes a page from legends John Lennon and even Elton John to an extent.

Highlight tracks: “Do I Wanna Know,” “I Want It All,” “One for the Road,” “Knee Socks,” and “R U Mine?”

Conclusion

Arctic Monkeys is not steering away from their intended path, as they continue to push forward with the evolution of their sound. Turner revealed in an interview with NME that he aims to make an album that will sound “less like four lads playing in a room this time.” Their influences and experimental efforts paid off with an album that is lyrically driven by romance (or lack thereof) and an instrumental finish that is well paced and polished. The call-and-response blues mixed with garage funk rock is refreshing and unique in many ways. Their willingness to experiment has taken Arctic Monkeys to new heights while adding their own accent. The only notable weak point is the inconsistency carried through the theme of the album. Lyrically the album sticks to its narrative however the album feels disjointed with tracks “I wanna Be Yours” and “Snap out of it” which feels more like fillers. “AM” is their most coherent album and some of their best work to date. Arctic Monkeys will definitely win over the hearts and ears of previous doubters with an album that will leave a lasting impression.

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Track List

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No. Title Length
1 “Do I Wanna Know?” 04:32
2 “R U Mine?” 03:20
3 “One for the Road” 03:26
4 “Arabella” 03:27
5 “I Want It All” 03:04
6 “No. 1 Party Anthem” 04:03
7 “Mad Sounds” 03:35
8 “Fireside” 03:01
9 “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” 02:42
10 “Snap Out of It” 03:12
11 “Knee Socks” 04:17
12 “I Wanna Be Yours” 03:04