This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Eight years ago, Arctic Monkeys appeared, as if out of nowhere, and gatecrashed the singles and albums charts, never mind the media. And if at first I wrote them off as a bunch of Libertines rip-offs (and I still think ‘Fake Tales Of San Francisco’ sounds way too like ‘Riverboat Song’ by Ocean Dullard Scene for comfort), within a short space of time, I too was won over. The thing is, while so many bands burned out or faded away, Arctic Monkeys have – to paraphrase Blade Runner – burned twice as bright and twice as long.
On this, their fifth album in a little over seven years, they show no sign of losing their edge. A song like current single ‘Why D’you Only Call Me When You’re High?’ is a case in point. Most indie bands who try to make out that they’ve been listening to ‘urban’ music usually fall flat on their faces. But what Alex Turner and his crew have managed to do is to take Hip-Hop influences and make another classic Arctic Monkeys song -and there’s not an embarrassing rap in earshot, either.
You’ve almost certainly heard the two opening tracks (and earlier singles) ‘R U Mine?’ and ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ Even though they’ve been doing the rounds for quite sometime, they don’t overshadow the rest of the album. ‘Snap Out Of It’ and ‘I Want It All’ are more piano driven than anything they’ve ever done before, yet still fit in with both the rest of the album, and indeed, the rest of their oeuvre.
Five albums in, they are still sounding fresh and whilst they never lacked for confidence on their début, they continue to ascend. Respect.