Arctic Monkeys album review

Sheffielders make their welcome return

Suck It and See
4/5

You’ll have heard the first single, certainly. More instantly ‘sticky’ than Superglue and boasting the best use of the ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ refrain since Nirvana’s ‘Lithium’, ‘Don’t Sit Down ’Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ marks Arctic Monkeys’ welcome return. We initially dismissed them as ‘a student band’, but had to make a swift volte face and our love continues to deepen.

If AM’s fourth proves anything – aside from the artful complexity of their arrangements, their mastery of the killer hook and the warmth of Alex Turner’s throatily maturing croon, that is – it’s that no other UK pop/rock band has its finger so confidently and creatively on the pulse of modern city life. Recorded in LA with old mucker James Ford, Suck It… is a terrific balance of filmic romance – so well suited to Turner’s narrative bent – and heads-down, grungy rock.

The album pads in with ‘She’s Thunderstorms’, a Suede-like title hiding a darkly twinkling ambience and Ronson-ish guitar. It’s matched by the richly bittersweet ‘Piledriver Waltz’, the twangling ‘Love Is a Laserquest’ and the first half of ‘Library Pictures’, which suggests a final spin on the floor of a haunted dancehall. As for maximum rocking, AM’s work with Josh Homme is echoed in ‘Don’t Sit Down…’ and the tricksy ‘All My Own Stunts’, while respect is paid to the Stone Roses in the closer. In every song, Turner’s vivid imagery impresses, whether in snatches (‘topless models doing semaphore’) or the mini-vignette of the title track. Imagination, attitude, wit, wallop and sensitivity –this new record appears to have it all. Yes, we’re smitten.

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