Sound — 9
When I first heard the single Crying Lightning I was totally surprised by their new sound, but after the first listen I really got into it and looked forward to the album. And yes, I think they really changed their sound, there is only one track that could be considered as an typical Arctic Monkeys song (Pretty Visitors). They got a lot more dark and I think the fact that Josh Homme produced most of the tracks can cleary be heard. The guitar solo in Crying Lightning is a quite good example for that. Also Jamie (Cook, guitarist) stated that the time they made the album they mostly were listening to Black Sabbath and Cream, and you can hear that too, which in my opinion is quite a good thing. The sudden change into the slower part of "Potion Approaching" for example really shows me that they moved forward. What I didn't was expecting were the tracks that have kind of a Country/Folk feel to them, like Secret Door or Cornerstone. I wasn't keen on them first but like it was with YFWM you just need to listen the tracks a few times before you really can enjoy them.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are very different from the other albums. First they deal with other subjects. There are no more lyrics about night outs and party and stuff. I think Alex's lyrics from the past were kind of a trademark for the Arctic Monkeys and that he apparently doesn't write such lyrics anymore can seem bad to some people but to me (I always enjoyed his older lyrics) it shows quite good that he grew up. Also, he's changed his writing style. It isn't always clear about he is singing and I think the fact that he got more 'poetic' is also a sign for his maturity. Also I think his singing evolved and I think the work as 'Last shadow puppets' really helped him to improve his singing skills.
Overall Impression — 10
To some it may seem bad that they aren't the "upbeat-and-fast-time-signatures-Arctic Monkeys" and I don't think that this album will catch up with the chart positions of the previous albums but I think I wouldn't be very happy if they would've made another album like that. I mean, I really loved WPSIATWIN and YFWN but I think it is a very good thing that they changed. Because I think someday they would've just been one of those "always-sound-the-same-bands" of which I think there are so many out there. I think making the 3rd album after 2 really good albums is even harder than making a 2nd after an successful debut. But I think they really got mature(I think i said that enough) and I'm really happy with that. After the big hype about their debut and after everything with this 'famous-through-the-internet'-thing they finally have become a 'normal' Indie-Rock band from England. I'm really looking forward what their future albums will sound like.