Saturday, 18 June 2011

Flynndie Reviews - Blog #13: Arctic Monkeys - Suck It and See

Written 16th June 2011:
Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See

Right here we go again then, Flynndie review time! I seem to have been neglecting my review duties due to working my socks off just recently, but of course, I've always had the comfort of some quality Indie tunes keeping me company while I've been busy the entire time. So let’s get this show back on the road again then and, errrrrm, wrap our lips around the Arctic Monkeys' latest offering ‘Suck it and See’!

So long-time readers will know (and trust me there are only 2 of them that I’m at least aware of!) that I’ve been quite a stubborn fool with realising the sheer greatness of these young lads from Sheffield. When ‘Whatever People Say I Am That Is What I’m Not’ was released for one reason or another at the time I’m really struggled to get into it, however, since the band’s impressive Glastonbury Headline slot in 2008 when the band were touring their 2nd album ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ I’ve since had a bit of common sense to realise that not only are these boys extremely talented, but they are arguably the ‘hottest’ band in the UK at the current time of writing (although I’d still argue that Muse may rightly have to something to say about that!) So with that brief history of my relationship for these Monkeys of a North Pole flavour let’s take a look at this follow up to 3rd album ‘Humbug’.

So the album opens with a slightly-menacing guitar riff, before the familiar dulcet tones of Alex Turner opens with “She’s Thunderstorms….” and straightaway we are given an early indication that this album has a more laid back, yet re-assured approach about itself compared to it's predecessor ‘Humbug’, which was more of a darker, carefree affair that in some cases previously ‘scared off‘ some fans. The tracks swoons along with a quite literal thunderous drumming accompanying the catchy ‘She’s Thunderstorms…..” chorus that the track previously opened with. ‘Black Treacle’ follows and again the listener will notice that although we have a familiar Arctic Monkey’s guitar riff pulsing through the heart of the track, but this is again two or three beats slower than that of tracks from any of their previous albums. The song title seems to be a comparison to that of the drawing dark nights the evening brings, and the uncertainty that sometimes comes with them.

Previously released single ‘Brick by Brick’ is just one of those tracks that makes you stand up and take notice the first time you hear. It's probably the first track on the album, that has a more ‘traditional’ Arctic Monkeys feel to it, as basically Alex make statements of things he would like to do with another individual before the spoken backing of ‘Brick-by-Brick’ by the rest of the band. The track does show a nod to their time spent with Josh Homme while recording ‘Humbug’ as it slows down half-way through, but this only emphasizes the catchiness of the main verses when they kick back in. ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’ despite being a keeeeeraaaazy song title just offers the assuredness that this records has in bags. With its summery-feeling bass bouncing all the way through it, and Alex’s ‘sha-la-la-la’s’ through out, this has just got summer-festival sing-along anthem written all over it.

‘Don’t sit down cause I’ve moved your chair’ goes back to the slowed-down menacing sound from ‘Humbug’ and opening track 'She's Thunderstorms'. This continues for the opening 45 seconds of guitar of the track with Alex making references to sayings of those usually associated with ‘doing things that can lead to a bad accident’, such as running with scissors in-hand, before a dirty, savage guitar riff and bassline wrap this track up in a moody, confident swagger about itself! Jamie Cook is on real-fine guitar-solo form by the end of this track!

‘Library Pictures’ is nothing short of epic! That was my first impression upon hearing this track and this has been further cemented with each subsequent listen since. The track opens with battling guitars taking their own time to do 0-60mph and keeps building from there. This is simply a track that will feature heavily during the band’s forthcoming UK Oct/Nov tour in my opinion and will become a firm fan-favourite! ‘All my own stunts’ opens with the band just ‘jamming’ in the studio and I previously read that the band tried to ensure that this record was given a definitive more 'live session' approach to it's recording! The track buzzes along-nicely and sits well in it's place on the record. ‘Reckless Serenade’ is the hand-holding partner to ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’. Opening with deep-bass notes and softly-sung lyrics it’s another mellowed down, coast of a track, but don’t be fooled, this song has a hidden-charm about it and is one of my personal favourite tracks on the album!

Track 9 ‘Piledriver Waltz’ is quite literally a Waltz of a track, another slow-burner, with a plodding-along-like bass-line. It’s a very inoffensive track and keeps the album at it's own pace. ‘Love is a Laserquest’ continues the much-slowed down, almost effortless-like pace on the path that the 2nd half of the album seems to take. Album title track ‘Suck It and See’ picks up the pace again slightly following the previous 3-tracks, and seems to be classic Indie track depicting the relationship between two people, but fortunatley, this track has a nice approach about it, without ever tasting too sickly-sweet which often tends to be a downfall, when many band's attempt a track like this. Album closer 'That's Where Your Wrong' finishes off nicely, but for me I was hoping of a bit more of a 'killer-rock' track by this stage, but I guess this, yet another more mellowed affair, keeps in-line musically with the rest of the album.

So, I've now had 2 weeks to give this album plenty of spins and make my own personal judgement of it. To be honest I really do like this record, it picks up nicely from where the band left-off with 'Humbug', however I do feel it doesn't come close to catching the pure 'living on the edge' feel of the band's first two albums, but then this record doesn't aim to achieve that and as I've said earlier in this review this is a certainly a more laid-back, almost 'casual' like sound from the band. However, I feel this casualness does let the 2nd half of the album down a bit, while the first 8-track of the record really make me sit up and grab my attention, I just personally feel the last few tracks just lack a little substance that would have made this yet another classic record by the Arctics, but don't get me wrong I like this album very much I'm going to award it 8 out of 10 gobstoppers, because if you 'Suck it and See' enough with this record you will find this album has a lot of hidden charm and flavours about itself and deserves more than a good few listens, so certainly a recommended addition for all the Indie record collections out there! Arctic Monkey fans will deffo love this album if they previously struggled with 'Humbug' for sure!!!

Sucking It and Seeing

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