Monday, August 24, 2009

Album Review: Arctic Monkeys - Humbug (4 / 5)

As a pop and R&B fan, the Arctic Monkeys don't hold that much appeal to me, and although I do like a lot of rock and alternative music--the Arctic Monkeys haven't always done it for me. The band's first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, was a commercial success and had a couple of noteworthy tracks, but for the most part felt a bit flimsy. The follow-up, Favourite Worst Nightmare, fell into the same shoes, but was overall a better affair ("Brainstorm" was awesome).

The bands third album, Humbug, is their most solid effort yet. Like on the previous 2 albums, there are no multiple 2 minute tracks that stem from the same roots and fail to satisfy the ear to its full penitential--excluding the albums closing track. In comparison, it's more darker and hardly accessible. You can easily obtain this vibe from the opening track "My Propeller" a traditional pacing string and drum affair, with an aphotic ambiance and Alex Turner's moody vocal.

Next up is the single "Crying Lightning" among the best tracks on here. I don't understand what their talking about, but it sounds good--the moody atmosphere, the blackish ambulated composition of strings and drums--making this a very fantastic number and it's the song that made want to give the album a chance. "Dangerous Animals" is slightly more upbeat and energetic, cutting from a more lively raw rock sound. "Secret Door" follows up well, as it seems it's cut from the same vein as "Dangerous Animals" but noticeably more light.

"Cornerstone" is another favorite. It's not as darkening as some of the most of the other songs on here. It's probably the most contemporary sounding, with it's strumming of an acoustic guitar and drums--it actually has a notable melody. Another one I really like is "The Jeweller's Hands" it's more slow, but not any less compelling.

Drums play a huge part in "Potion Approaching" a dramatic '60s rock inspired number. The vengeful punding of drums essepcially before (what I think is) the chorus, is really nicely worked.

A couple ones I don't like, well not yet anyway, are "Fire and the Hud" a spooky, tambourine and drum stricken number. I think it's maybe a bit too tame to be on the album--but it could be a grower. "Dance Little Lair" is another. I feel it needs to be shook up a bit.

"Pretty Visitors" is an awesome track. It's pretty funny too, espically the line: ("what came first, the chicken or the dickheads") explicit, but who cares? right? It starts out with static styled vocals, pacing drums and strings, before it picks up on a more fast paced venture, it's really great. The album closes with the rap styled "Sketchead" backed by fast paced strings and drums.

Humbug, is Artic Monkeys best album so far, if anything it's their most solid. I just thought, Favorite Worst Nightmare, needed a bit of bulking up.

Best: Conerstone, Crying Lightning, Pretty Visitors, The Jewelle'rs Hands, Dangerous Animals, Secret Door


ww_adh said...

I'm excited about this. From what I've heard, they've broadened their sound a bit more, which I welcome. While I like the concept, I was initially turned off by how overly simple all their songs are (I've since grown to appreciate that, but still would like to see them stretch a bit more).

J.Mensah said...

I'm not sure about your opinion on them, but I'm pretty sure you'll like as much as I did or more.