Album: Suck It and See
It’s never an easy undertaking to predict the sonic structure of an Arctic Monkey’s album. Their first two LP’s, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and Favourite Worst Nightmare, were hyper-frenetic garage rock anthems while their third album, Humbug, was largely inspired by producer Josh Homme’s (of Queens of the Stone Age fame) fondness for classic rock with a psychedelic twist. Suck It and See is yet another reinvention that heavily embraces vintage rock of the 1950s and 60s.
In all honesty, it did take a few listens of Suck It and See to fully comprehend the denseness of its body. Seductively ensnaring, the music slowly and methodically glides upon you with mesmerizing serpentine prowess.
“Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” is dark and foreboding with a dizzying array of dense guitar soundscapes and hypnotically dour bass lines. While “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala” and “Piledriver Waltz” revel in the unpredictability that has come to define the recent musical landscape of the Monkeys.
Easily one of the most intriguing lyricists in modern music, lead singer Alex Turner incorporates wordplay with an almost Dylan-esque sensibility. Full of bewildering imagery that borders on the fantastical and enigmatic (“Jigsaw women with horror movie shoes/ Be cruel to me cos I’m a fool for you”), Turner’s talent for colorful and playful explorations of vocabulary is at its finest and most puzzling during Suck It and See’s duration.
Though the sound of the Monkey’s continues to deviate from its original blueprint, the thematic structure of the band’s art remains largely consistent with previous releases. From the very first album, Alex Turner has brazenly identified himself as a volatile outsider, and with a Jarvis Cocker sort of swagger, Suck It and See once again delivers a funky romanticism peppered with antagonistic richness.
It’s nothing short of bizarre to witness the continual evolution of the Sheffield, England quartet. With simply four albums, the Arctic Monkeys have adamantly refused generic limitations. While some of their fan base may be diminishing as a result, their artistic diversity continues to expand with notable results.