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Humbug by Arctic Monkeys

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Reviewed on 5th October 2009.



By Arctic Monkeys

It's the tricky third album for the Arctic Monkeys, originally from Sheffield and an emblem of hope for unsigned bands everywhere. The band have already cemented their 'sound' and could quite easily have delivered an album of similar material to their first two and been guaranteed to please fans and critics alike. The brilliance is they have refused to be pigeonholed and released an album no one was expecting.

Three years on from the monumental success of their debut album 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not,' the Arctic Monkeys have decided to try on a darker, heavier sound. The band enlisted the help of Queens of the Stone Age frontman, Josh Homme, who produced seven of the ten tracks as part of his 'Desert Sessions.' Homme's influence can clearly be felt throughout the album; there is a ferocity and rebellion not present in previous material.

Matt Helders is an absolute machine on the drums, arguably one of the best drummers around. His pounding rhythms give a perfect backdrop for raging guitars and Alex Turner's haunting vocals. The guitars are more malicious, with a broader range of effects giving them a menacing quality. They twist and creep throughout the album, feeling more purposeful and confident. Jim Morrison style vocals amalgamate with Turner's witty observational lyrics to create ghostly choruses. Turner drools and plays with his words like The Doors lead singer, making him sound more established and less eager to please.

The stand out tracks are the first single 'Crying Lightning,' and 'Pretty Visitors' which are the two tracks to have successfully joined where the band have been to where the band are going. The second single 'Cornerstone', released in mid November, is tender yet emotive and another successful song.

What this album proves is that the Arctic Monkeys are maturing and exploring the depths of their musical contributions. Some of the ideas are part baked and most of the songs are pretty repetitive, but this album marks the step Arctic Monkeys are taking to ensure they rise above being an 'in' band to being one of the greats.



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