It’s been two years since the Arctic Monkeys released the dark and brooding Humbug, and they have clearly spent their time wisely, with latest album being the proof of better quality. Suck It and See reveals their swaying croon-tunes to be just as pleasing as their mosh-worthy rock.
Alex Turner proves his writing genius to still be thriving, reinventing cliched phrases to strengthen his songs. He juxtaposes formulaic prose with lines of disjoint poetry: “Jigsaw women with hollow movie blue shoes / Be cruel to me ’cause I’m a fool for you.” Turner still questions human intentions, but with irony colored with aged hindsight.
The tracks that stand out are not necessarily the ones most resembling the experimental dissonance of Humbug or even the driving angst of Whatever People Say I Am…, but instead contain whimsical and melodic, pop chord progressions. But those that do harken back to the Monkeys’ smashing, crashing music of yore, hold their ground and remind listeners of where the band started from.
A striking difference is Matt Helders’ drumming – controlled and not as literally ground-shaking as exhibited in Favourite Worst Nightmare. Even the rhythmic-styling changes mirror the band’s chameleonic talent, impressively able to dole out distinctly lighter shades of musical art.
The Arctic Monkeys are steadily proving that they’re the masters of their own music with the balanced control of the album’s emotional trajectory. In Suck It and See they prove how much emotion pop rock can still retain, even in a day of digital facades and recycled music hooks.
A previous version of this article incorrectly credited the album cover to Warner Bros. In fact, the cover was courtesy of Domino.