ALBUM REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys – AM

AM cover
AM cover

ARTIST Arctic Monkeys

ALBUM AM

LABEL Domino

RELEASE DATE 10.9.2013

7.8 | 10

At Free Press Summer Fest in Houston this past summer, while many big names brought their A-game, the most surprisingly energetic and fun show of the weekend happened when Arctic Monkeys took the stage. Before the fest, I was rather indifferent towards their music. On that day, they made me a believer. With their new album AM hitting stores and digital outlets, they make it that much harder to not enjoy their music.

Alex Turner, and his vocal delivery, have been one of the most fascinating things about Arctic Monkeys since they broke the blogosphere. On AM, Turner’s vocals carry a hazy swagger with them much in the same way as two shots of whiskey will do. “Satisfaction feels like a distant memory,” he sings on album highlight “R U Mine?” This new album is the sound of Turner and his cohorts attempting to achieve that which even Mick Jagger couldn’t attain.

The biggest surprise of AM belongs to the instrumentals behind Turner’s vocals. While undoubtedly a rock & roll album, AM also benefits from a sleeker production than most of their contemporaries have tried to go. On the stellar “One For The Road,” which features contributions from Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Jamie Cook’s guitar tone recalls the seductive, midnight R&B sounds of Dev Hynes’ 2011 album as Blood Orange, Coastal Grooves. That ambience shows itself time and time again on AM, and gives the record a cohesiveness lacking on their previous releases.

Five albums into their career, Arctic Monkeys appear to have dug themselves out of the inevitable mid-career rut. After their previous couple of albums, it would be safe to ask where Arctic Monkeys were headed as a band? It turns out their debut single was a big hint as to exactly they were going. “I bet you look good on the dancefloor,” Turner hypothesized on their first single. And what better way to find out than to get them on the dancefloor yourself.

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