Monday, September 2, 2013

Arctic Monkeys- AM

If you're a fan, the change in direction won't surprise you, but I'm going to assume that you just think of Arctic Monkeys as that group of teenagers doing britpop influenced punk rock with almost Kinks-level of British minutiae in the lyrics. I thought that, too- then I saw them live, backing up the Black Keys ( my wife digs 'em) and live,  they're like QOTSA meets the Jam. So, this record is what I think they've been shooting for since Humbug- which means Black Sabbath/Cream/Blue Cheer proto-metal guitars married to mid-1990's BritPop melodies, with Josh Homme-isms thrown in liberally, then through a hip-hop ( early 2000's OutKast style) production- drums mixed loud.  I like it better than anything they've done since the first record. Yes, there even is a hint of Black Keys Glam-blues-funk in some of the mixes.  Alex Turner clearly is the face of the organization, but I think Jamie Cook and Matt Helders could release good vintage-style rock lps with or without Turner. Whatever, Turner brings some charisma, and good lyrics and if he comes up with the melodies, he's earning his keep.
Going back to Josh Homme- I think he described the record in a good way: a sexy-after midnight modern dancefloor record- and I'd like to take that one step further. Let me paint a picture for you- you broke up with your girlfriend during dinner. It was a long time coming, so your friends swept in like vultures, to take you out to "celebrate"- really just an excuse to get blasted, and it's now 1 AM, and you see this girl who's been checking you out. Maybe it's beer goggles, maybe it's pent up anger over your break up, but you go for it, and have great sex that you almost immediately regret. A variety of a good and bad reasons for that regret, but it hits very hard and very fast, so you manage to extricate yourself by about 3 AM, and, to bolster your courage, you're drinking harder, but a minor miracle and tragedy happens at about 7AM- you drunk dial your girlfriend, and she wants you back. Now, of course, the relationship doesn't work out, and you end up breaking up in a screaming match three weeks later- but there's the memory of that one night, right? This record is the soundtrack to that memory.

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