September 6, 2013 7:42 pm

Arctic Monkeys: AM

The Sheffield band’s fifth album is a record to put colour in your cheeks and lead in your pencil

The second Los Angeles album, and fifth in all, by Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys is a record to put colour in your cheeks and lead in your pencil, as their lyricist might say.

“Dr Dre beats (with) an Ike Turner bowl-cut” is, in fact, how Alex Turner describes a sound that has the chunky-thumpiness of hip-hop and the stadium-blues power of The Black Keys (their recent tour buddies). Indeed, it’s that band’s template that AM seems to build upon – a feral snarl to the guitars and a primitive stomp to the drums on the opener, “Do I Wanna Know?” – only with greater urgency, presence and wit. G-funk’s staccato preen lurks in several tracks, while falsetto backing vocals lift the soul quota. “No 1 Party Anthem” is actually a Lennon-like, end-of-the-night piano ballad; the closing “I Wanna Be Yours” sets words by Manchester punk poet John Cooper Clarke in a languid and lonely desert panorama. Full of drunk-dialling and objects of desire, AM is one hot fret of a thing. Fantastic.

Arctic Monkeys



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