Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Flynndie Reviews - Blog #7: Arctic Monkeys - Humbug

Written 20th October 2009:

Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

Who the fuck are Arctic Monkeys?

Well, to be honest at first I really wasn’t too sure about the Arctic Monkeys. Alright ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor’ was a decent track, but as Alex says at the start of the video “Don’t Believe the Hype”. That is exactly what I thought upon hearing their 1st album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ and following singles ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ and ‘View from the Afternoon’ which subsequently featured on the ‘Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?’ EP.

After this ‘Fluorescent Adolescence’ was released, the 1st single from they’re forthcoming 2nd album ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ which radio stations across the UK were all over quicker than a fly to shit! I fucking hated it and to be honest it’s still not a particular favourite track off mine by them, and I used to curse it every time it came on the radio.

What changed all this however was the off chance that I caught their Saturday night highlight slot at Glastonbury 2007 as by this point, due to my stubbornness, I still had not heard much off their new material from the 2nd album at this time! After watching this performance by them though, it finally dawned on me that these boys can really fucking play well and do actually have some awesome tunes in their locker.

After this I went out and brought the 2nd album (which I gave a brief review in Blog #1 of Flynndie Reviews, fact fans!!), and became hooked, even then going out and buying the 1st album!! So by the time the imminent release of the 3rd album came round I was like, ‘right I ain’t gonna fucking miss being on the band wagon this time, especially with Josh Homme’s involvement’, but after this previous hate/love relationship with the Monkeys how do I feel having had a few listens to their 3rd offering, ‘Humbug’? Read on to find out……

Ok, so the album opens with a short, sharp quick drum solo, before going into menacing guitar heavy riffs which straightaway you can tell Mr. Homme has had his fingers in at some point. I actually quite like this opening track and feel it is a good indication quite early off the major change in-direction this album takes from the 1st two offerings from the Monkeys. Even from as early as this track, 'My Propellor', you may already notice Alex’s voice sounds a bit different on this record in comparison to the previous two LPs, more dark and mature sounding in my opinion.

Next up is 1st single from the album ‘Crying Lightning’, again a pretty solid rock track with a deep, heavy bass line coursing through its veins. I wasn’t too sure about it when I first heard it but it seems to get better with each listen. This is then followed by ‘Dangerous Animals’, another track that seems to get better with each listen with a definite nod towards the sounds of ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ particularly with its spellings off the words of the song title throughout and over the chorus.

‘Secret Door’ starts with a loose, slow guitar riff before going into the 1st melancholic rock track on the album, this one doesn’t blow me away by any means but again I found I quite liked it the other day. ‘Potion Approaching’ is a ‘live’ favourite of the band I believe, it starts with jagged guitars and a bass line that coasts through its chorus, before in the 2nd half of the track it goes on into a full on trippy riff?!?! I’m wondering what ‘Potions’ the Arctic’s were on when they wrote this track?

The middle of the album is the weakest part of the album for me. First, ‘Fire and the Thud’, is possibly the weakest track on the album another chilled out, acoustic type track, before next single ‘Cornerstone’. Again, this track doesn’t really do anything much for me, it coasts along steadily with jangly guitars, but doesn’t have too much about it. I guess it’s appropriate for radio play! ‘Dance Little Liar’ is another slowed down affair with some droning guitar sounds in the background.

Thankfully, ‘Pretty Visitors’ really picks things up again, easily my favourite track on the album, it starts with a haunting organ piece before going into a fast catchy bursts of chorus before the big sing-a-long chorus and then the immortal line ‘What came first? The chicken or the dickhead?’ What a classic line!!! Last track ‘The Jeweller’s Hand’ is another quiet, slow track, and hasn’t again caught my attention too much on previous listens.

So, a bit of a mixed bag of a review on this one then, I think I shall award it 6 Bah, Humbugs!! out of 10, but this album does tend to be a bit of a grower. I just think in comparison to the 1st two albums, this is an album that I won’t listen to as much in the future as I have done with the other two in the past. I appreciate that they have tried something a bit different with this record and let’s face it you can’t blame them for wanting to go out to the desert to work with Josh Homme, but I still think this is their weakest album to date and ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ is still my, erm, favourite!!

Bah, Humbug!! Flynny

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