Arctic Monkeys - Humbug

2009-09-04 | |

I'll be the first to admit I've never been a fan of the Arctic Monkeys. I bet that they possibly look good on a dancefloor, or even a stage; wherever they choose to peddle their musical wares. I was initially sceptical about reviewing this album, basing everything on what I knew of the Monkeys before now - they were an Indie band who were praised for being brilliant when I couldn't see that brilliance.

I was blind, but now I see!

Humbug ties it all up nicely. It's dark, it's mature, it's a middle ground between Alex Turner's side-project The Last Shadow Puppets, and the Monkeys' own albums. It shows that the Monkeys have grown up; they've found their feet, and their talents; and they're going to stand firmly on one, and use the other to wow people.

I'm always wary of third albums, because they always seem to be a hurdle a lot of bands can't traverse. Aiding the Arctics on this journey in the Americas was James Ford, who produced Age of the Understatement for the Last Shadow Puppets, and veritable God amongst the alt-rockers Josh Homme (whose influences can't exactly be ignored on the fuzzy basslines in this epic).

So what can I say about this album, aside from what's already been said? I really have no idea. It wowed me; knocked me back into my seat when I was least expecting it. I honestly thought that the best I was going to get from this was another set of catchy one-hit-wonders that would fill the dancefloor with inane skanking skanks for years to come.

Oh no. This is something more. This is some dark beast lying in wait in the forests of your mind, purring slowly as you walk past, and then pulling out all the stops to make you stand and watch. Think of this album as the Arctic Monkeys' Cheshire Cat - it's a big grinning thing, full of confidence and swagger, and if you try to turn away, you end up turning back to it.

For a person who always thought of the Monkeys as mediocre, this is pleasantly surprising, and I really struggle to find anything wrong with it. Honestly. As much as I want to. There's nothing there. Nothing at all. Not even a note out of place; a bit of annoying discordance, or even a song I hated. What's up with that!?

Overall: 10/10 - A rare gem in this wasteland of half-assed albums.

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