With each album the Arctic Monkeys experiment with their sound a bit more, stretching out from their high-powered storytelling pub rock that shot them to instant fame back in 2006 with the classic Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. They played up their aggressive late night drug fueled party vibe during Favourite Worst Nightmare before expanding their sound with the desert inspired alt-rock of Humbug. Suck It And See recalled early pop/rock and now AM injects a huge heaping of sexy dance floor soul and hip hop beats into their sound.
The group seems to revel in the rhythm and hip shaking, bumping with ease on the disk opener “Do I Wanna Know?” Alex Turner’s words tumble out in creative waterfalls as the groove consumes while backing vocals pristinely support the track. Those crisp backing vocals are everywhere on AM adding depth, layers and flavor to multiple efforts. “One For The Road” and “Knee Socks” continue that successful soul vibe as both possess a get down feel and as an added bonus Josh Homme helps out on both.
The semi disco shining on “I Want It All” and “Fireside” both contain a mix of electro guitars/keys augmented by exciting percussion. “R U Mine?” is an exhilarating old style single bringing back the scratching guitars that Turner and Jamie Cook amp up, but the beat is still the main attraction via Matt Helders booming drums. Nick O’Malley steps to the forefront with his bass grooves highlighting the R&B styled “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” which will hopefully get sampled and remixed by a talented MC immediately.
The silky smooth “Mad Sounds” hits everyone with a delicious “oh-la-la-la” while “Arabella” is one of the more intriguing tracks here as the band mixes the rock vibe and slinky soul, sonically nodding to both Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and Billy Squire’s “Stroke It”. When AM wraps up with the burning soul of “I Wanna Be Yours” (which uses John Cooper Clarke’s lyrics) it is clear that the quartet has taken to this velvet laced style without losing their edge, resulting in one of the best and most unexpected Arctic Monkey releases to date.