Arctic Monkeys are arguably one of the most popular and finest Indie bands around today. The Psychedelic Indie Rock quartet, have already released four studio albums but show no signs of slowing their pace down with their fifth album, which could easily be considered the defining piece of their career so far. ‘AM’ is chock full of great tracks, some which could remain staples of their live shows for a long while yet, and is pound to be an album that truly gains them a lot of recognition.
With a great mixture of upbeat anthems and slowed-down indie classics, this album is something that is bound to be stuck in the heads of many for weeks, always keeping its simplistic and uplifting feel about it. Kicking off with their latest single, ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ is a fist-pumping and rather upbeat track. With its simplistic riff, that continuously repeats itself, pouring from the guitars and the bass accompanied by the simple, continuous thud of the drums, the song is infectious and clearly focuses more on the simple style of the song. Something that is bound to get you singing, the song only improves when it kicks in a little more, although still remaining simple in its approach, and is a truly great start to what can only be described as a thoroughly fantastic album.
Although none of the songs on here are technical, there is some stand out moments on the guitars where solos do appear, although simplistic and fitting in their approach. The album plows through tracks such as the singles ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, ‘R U Mine?’ and ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ and stand out tracks ‘Mad Sounds’, ‘Knee Socks’ and ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ with great pacing and consistency. One of the best things about the album is its mixing however. It is well thought out and beautifully crafted with the guitars, vocals, drums and bass mixed at the right levels. Everything is there to be heard and nothing on here seems like it was a half-arsed effort.
Everything is clear and the tracks stick to the same formula throughout most of the album. Now repetitiveness seems like a band thing when it comes to music but here, it is the one thing that makes it truly amazing to here. Although it follows the same formula throughout, it is one that works and doesn’t make you get bored halfway through. With its unique catchiness, the album is something that can be played on repeat often and still maintain its catchiness and its ability to still keep its listener hooked. Something rather difficult to do in the music industry but something this band have pulled off with effortless perfection. There is one more thing with this album however that makes it yet even greater to listen to.
That one thing is the guests on the album. Although two of them aren’t as easy to spot, they definitely have their impact. Bill-Ryder Jones (The Coral, solo career) joins in with additional guitars on the track ‘Fireside’ whilst Pete Thomas (session drummer) makes an appearance with additional drums on the song ‘Mad Sounds’ (after Matt broke his arm drumming for the album, Pete came along to play the drums for the track in which the band stated that he was “saving the day”). But the yet the most obvious guest appearance comes from Queens of The Stone Age Vocalist/Guitarist, Josh Homme, whom was featured on two tracks during the record. Homme’s makes an appearance on tracks ‘Knee Socks’ and ‘One for the Road’, doing guest vocals with the band. Although Homme is the most famous and obvious appearance on the album, all the guests still make this album truly great to hear and add their bit to it, making this something more to appreciate. After a complete listen, you can appreciate the album for exactly what it is (a damn good piece of Indie Rock) and it suffices to say this is a pleaser for anyone who listens to it.
Ranging from great bass-lines and thudding drums (greatly accompanied by beautiful vocals and simplistic but mesmerizing guitars), fantastic guest appearances and beautiful production work, this is an album that has everything a Rock album should be. With catchy hooks, upbeat tempos and seemingly effortless amounts of catchiness, Arctic Monkeys have crafted something truly fantastic to listen to. Everything here seems fitting and the album as a whole is great. If you have yet to have listened to the album, I advise you do. If you’re a fan of the band, it is essential listening but if you haven’t yet listened to them, then now is the time to change that. But I advise that you check out one of the singles from it first (especially ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ which has a truly perfect video) before deciding to listen to the album. Either way, if you’re a fan of Indie music, this is something you have to listen to. This is the bands finest work to date and it shows. Although there is nothing in the way of technicality, the catchiness and craftsmanship continue to drive the album forward with no intent of allowing you to stop until it is completely finished. A fine album from the band and something that will be sure to prick up a few ears and gain them new listeners, AM is one heck of damn good album. Check it out.