Suck It And See

Arctic Monkeys

Domino Records

Released: 06/06/2011

Suck It And See, the fourth full-length album by the Arctic Monkeys arrives amidst strangely little hype and speculation. Considering the lukewarm reception from their fanbase to the third offering Humbug perhaps this isn’t surprising. A blatantly uncreative album cover suggests the Sheffield four-piece are basking in their newfound low profile. The provocative album title provides satirical continuity with Humbug; a concept lost in the USA where the moniker has received censorship.

A quick glance at the rear reveals songs entitled ‘Serenade, Waltz, Love and Shalalala’ leading you to wonder if they have produced a 50/60’s revival record. With Johnny Cash and The Byrds noted as influences this may not be too far off the mark. “We wanted it to be song-based this time” explains Alex Turner whose adventurous lyrics never disappoint.

‘It’s riffs, loud, funny’ states the front cover of one music magazine. “There’s definitely a sense of humour in this record” confirms Turner. “Lately I’ve been seeing things, belly button piercings” he amusingly observes in Black Treacle, a viscous yet sumptuous metaphor for the sky.

Omnipresent features of Suck It And See are Jamie Cook’s guitar chimes which twinkle and fade charmingly in the backdrop of Turner’s smooth vocals.

Enigmatically-named, The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala is a sparkling sing-song that resembles the jangling Cornerstone. “I took the batteries out my mysticism and put ‘em in my thinking cap” croons Turner. The beautifully-composed Reckless Serenade tells the tale of romantic encounters with “the type of kisses where teeth collide”. The soppy situations are further ventured in the enchanting choruses of That’s Where You’re Wrong. “She looks as if she’s blowing a kiss at me and suddenly the sky is a scissor”.

Turner’s metaphorical ingenuity continues in Love Is A Laserquest and the harmonious title track Suck It And See where love is likened to a “studded leather headlock”.

In contrast to the overriding story-telling theme, a trio of songs stick out like a white man in Hammersmith Palais. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair is a sole link to the bass-heavy rock reminiscent of the Homme-inspired Humbug. “Do the Macarena in the devil’s lair” Turner rhymes playfully in a dark 3 minutes. Library Pictures is a reminder that the Arctic Monkeys used to write quick indie tracks. The punchline “… or an ip, dip, dogshit rock and roll” cues an electrifying riff backed by Matt Helders’ Offspring-style drum thrashing. The most anomalous track is the lyrically one-dimensional pre-release Brick By Brick which sees Helders assume lead vocals in a new construction.

Having tasted the whole contents though it’s clear Suck It And See has a soft, beguiling centre. The dominant flavour of this selection is more Last Shadow Puppets minus the orchestral element than pre-Humbug era guitar solos. This is a fine demonstration of warming melodies coupled to the words of a maturing lyricist. Long gone are the youthful songs about dirty dancefloors and dreams of naughtiness. The Arctic Monkeys have evolved into huggy bears.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Do you like this review or have an alternative view of Messeurs Turner, Cook, O’Malley and Helders’ fourth installment?

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    You have such a beautiful, fluent writing style and you hit the nail on the head. The latest album is possibly their best and definitely another change of direction. Love it. Big fan. Keep it up xxx

  2. thereviewer says:

    Climb out of my ass 🙂

  3. […] Check out: LP: Arctic Monkeys. […]

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