Suck It And See
UG Team, on june 06, 2011 6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: I have to hand it to the Arctic Monkeys. This is a group that keeps you scratching your head and/or raising your eyebrows with each new album that is churned out. The English indie rock band's last few records have been fairly huge departures from the garage rock-driven sound of its debut "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not". With Arctic Monkeys' last release "Humbug", the influence of producer Josh Homme was undeniable and the record ended up sounding like a selection out of the Queens Of The Stone Age catalog. With the band's latest record "Suck It And See", previous styles are scrapped and the sound takes a sharp turn in an entirely new direction. The garage rock of old? Pretty much a distant memory. The stoner rock vibe of "Humbug"? Yes, that's a goner as well. What you hear this time around is a strange yet intriguing new divergence that will likely grow on you even if you find yourself a little puzzled initially. The opener "She's Thunderstorms", as tumultuous as it may come across, is actually more reminiscent of a 1950's pop ballad with a little twist of The Smiths. Vocalist/guitarist Alex Turner' vocal delivery has never been smoother and allows for an emphasis on melody more than ever before. There are more than a few tracks that carry a distinct nod to a simpler sensibility you might get with the 1950s and early 1960s, particularly in "Brick By Brick" and "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala". Even the title track feels like it could be from a completely different time, although the heavy use of dreamy guitar effects does give it a dose of the contemporary. There are two main elements that stand out on "Suck It And See": the guitar textures and the rich visual imagery within the lyrical content. On pretty much every one of the 12 tracks these two aspects will leave you pretty satisfied. That doesn't mean there is a lot of variance to the guitar lines and solo work is almost nonexistent, but the thick tones certainly catch your attention. Perfect examples of these arrangements arrive in "Love Is A Laserquest" and "Piledriver Waltz". The album is mellow for the vast majority, but there is a soothing, ethereal quality to it that makes for an enjoyable listen. // 8
Lyrics: The colorful, oddly fascinating lyrical content is easily the best part of "Suck It And See". Almost every line catches your attention because the rhyme schemes are quite out of the ordinary. The title track is a prime example with lines like, "Your love is like a studded leather headlock; Your kiss, it could put creases in the rain; You're rarer than a can of dandelion and burdock; And those other girls are just postmix lemonade". And then you have the quirky, confusing-but-appealing track "Library Pictures" that features the lyrics, "Library pictures; Of the quickening canoe; The first of its kind to get to the moon; Give me an eeny meeny miny mo; Or an ip dip dog shit rock and roll". These are the kind of lines that keep your mind engaged from start to finish, and once again prove that the Arctic Monkeys are just trying to rehash the same old thing. // 10
Overall Impression: It was difficult not to be taken off guard at first, primarily because the sound on "Suck It And See" bore little resemblance to the Arctic Monkeys' previous material. It's a step in the right direction, however. While "Humbug" was enjoyable, it was simply too seeped in Josh Homme's trademark sound. Garage rock lovers may be put off by "Suck It And See", but the band's new sound actually seems quite the perfect fit for Turner's vocal delivery. It might just be safe to say that even if you love it, the Arctic Monkeys may take a dive into a whole other genre next time around. In this cookie cutter day and age, that's a pretty respectable and gutsy choice. // 9
Suck It And See
jcoops39, on june 23, 2011 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Make no mistake, this is a band that is not afraid to change things round. In any case they've certainly come a long way from the phronetic, power-chord driven debut "Whatever People Say I Am", and even the haunting tones of their last (Josh Homme influenced) effort "Humbug" are done away with. To fans of the Arctic Monkeys early work this latest album should be a step in the right direction; the fairground horror keyboards have disappeared in favour of a more measured, guitar dominated approach. Elements also remain that have been constant throughout all four albums; schreechy guitar breaks are still a favourite Monkeys trick, as is impressive interaction between lead and rythm parts of a song. Critics might point to a lack of overall direction album-to-album, but this one definitely works musically and, to my mind, is a vast improvement on "Humbug". // 8
Lyrics: What can you say about Alex Turner's songwriting? For many people, the lyrics were what elevated the Arctic Monkeys to their "best band in the country" billing in the first place; tracks like "Mardy Bum" and "Fluorescent Adolescent" were brilliant, not only for the lyrical invention, but because they were easy to follow and relate to. That, I suppose, was bound to change once they got famous, and so it has come to pass. The invention is still there, Turner isn't a man to be stuck for words, but most if not all of the "four normal lads from Sheffield" appeal has, sadly and inevitably, been lost. As has that same phronetic energy from the "Sound" section. No more are songs as quick-fire as "Fluorescent Adolescent" or even "Pretty Visitors" from "Humbug". That isn't necessarily detrimental as the vocal delivery, as with the music, has taken a smoother, more measured route, what bothers me is that some of the songs are so cloaked in metaphor that it's difficult to know what they're supposed to be about. That would be fine if there wasn't also the feeling that Turner wouldn't put pen to paper without a damn good reason for doing so. Indeed, "Reckless Serenade" strikes me as an admission that he just doesn't know what he's meant to be writing songs about anymore, but the beauty of that, ironically enough, is I could be entirely wrong. Still, even through the nagging doubts comes the undeniable truth that the lyrics, though ambiguous, are brilliant. It's just a shame that they're so difficult to follow. // 7
Overall Impression: All in all, the album is yet another stage in the Arctic Monkeys development. What will be interesting is if they now settle down into a groove or if they keep fans guessing indefinitely, which to some is now their main appeal. At the very least they sound as if they're having more fun than they did on "Humbug", and in it's best parts this album can either grab and hold your attention or make you smile. Closing track "That's Where You're Wrong" is the highlight for me, probably because it's one of the few I feel I understand, and because there's slightly more energy about it than most of the others. "Library Pictures" is particularly good lyrically as well, as is "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair". The album is well worth buying and will grow on you after a few listens, but I fear the band is probably doomed, through no real fault of their own, never to hit the heights of their debut again in terms of smash hits. Better than "Humbug", as good as "Favourite Worst Nightmare", short of "Whatever People Say That I Am, That's What I'm Not". // 8
Suck It And See
djae_punk1, on june 24, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The lads from Arctic Monkeys never fail to impress courtesy of their distorted guitars, excellent use of effects. Though they haven't incorporated and made use of as many guitar riffs like in their first two albums, the guitar work is still brilliant as it flows smoothly along with Turner's vocals. The melodic aspect of the album is simply brilliant and has a very '60s feel to it. 'Love is a Laserquest' is a testimony to this; simple yet brilliant. Their sound has definitely changed as they aren't as raunchier as they were in their previous albums. Another brilliant track would be 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala', the transition between bass and guitar parts is orchestrated in a very intricate manner. The use of the bass is very prominent throughout the entire album as it does stand out, out feature which is often overlooked by a number of bands.
I would definitely say that Arctic Monkeys are a powerhouse in the indie scene as once you hit play on the CD, pushing stop is literally impossible. These lads define indie rock. // 8
Lyrics: Turner's skill of writing is truly unique and we see that he continues with his unconventional still of writing; the comical aspects of his compositions are still very evident in this album, songs such as 'That's Where Your Wrong' and 'Reckless Serenade' portray this. The lyrics compliment the music marvelously, different and unique in almost every way. Turner's vocals abilities are sure to please fans and critics alike; although he does not hit the highest of notes his simple vocal style is still amiable and very enjoyable.
The unconventional lyrics written by Turner are some of the key features that define Arctic Monkeys as a band and he did not disappoint on single bit. His writing gives the music a very psychedelic feel, hence the '60s remark made earlier. // 9
Overall Impression: I always say to my friends, 'The first album of any band you listen to will never compare to any other album by them you listen to.' In truth, that wouldn't be a fair judgment for this particular album as they have abandoned their garage rock sound and have gone for a more mellow sound in this particular album. Nonetheless, this defines a new direction the band is heading to in terms of their overall sound, one which I must say I'm quite enjoying. 'Love is a Laserquest' is definitely one of my favourite tracks on the record and I honestly don't see myself getting tired of it. 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala', from what I can see so far, is a favourite amongst fans.
If my copy were stolen, I'd buy another one PLUS a back-up, and a back-up for the back-up; I'm enjoying it that much! Though not their most iconic album, it is definitely one that is very much enjoyable.
I listened to the album without any expectations or prior opinions and I now hold it in high-regard. // 9
Suck It And See
weorge, on august 05, 2011 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: When the Arctic Monkeys said their new album would further develop the sound of "Humbug" two words came to mind "oh bugger". I was wrong. The new album is bass heavy, dark and yet isn't a required taste (unlike a lot of music where bands change their sound, and lose their spark). The songs are all catchy and compliment eachover very well, they make very good use of textures. It sounds like they've been very carefull to only put in what works, none of the instruments get in eachovers way (as is often the case with bands with two guitarists). I'm particularly impressed with the bass work, it's far too rare to see a band actually using the bass to drive the songs forward and this album definately does that. We should force club musicians to listen to this yelling "THIS IS WHAT A BASS SHOULD SOUND LIKE". There our only two reasons I only give the sound an 8, firstly its not quite as good as favourite worst nightmate. Secondly the songs compliment eachover a bit too well, they are in many ways quite similar. When I listen to this album I think "fantastic" but can't really pick out any particular songs. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics are very good, but that's a crap review so I'll go into more detail. The lyrics aren't fantastical, memoreable near-poetry which sum up the all important aspects of life. But this is the Arctic Monkeys, not Pink Floyd or Bob Dylan (to name a couple). The lyrics are however honest, containing gems like "I poured my aching heart into a love song, I couldn't get the hang of poetry". Like most arctic monkeys work the lyrics are down to earth and happily contain few cliche's. It feels like the songs are actually about something, rather than just being mindless drivel. They match the sound and feel of the album perfectly. However as few of the lyrics really stand out, and for "Don't Sit Down Cos I've Moved Your Chair" I'll give this a 7. // 7
Overall Impression: I loved this album the first time I heard it, I still love it now. I think this will have staying power in my memory. I suppose the title track and "Hellcat Spangled Shalalalala" well represent this album. This is much better than most of the music scene, so many of my favourite bands of today have dissapointed me with their newest efforts, but the Arctic Monkeys have redeemed themselves after the mediocrity of "Humbug". I genuingly think in 20 years rock kids will be tellings us that we're lucky, because we had arctic monkeys. Much as I envy my step-dad for having seen "The Wall" live. // 9