Suck It and See review by Arctic Monkeys

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  • Released: Jun 6, 2011
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (83 votes)
Arctic Monkeys: Suck It and See

Sound — 8
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.

Lyrics — 10
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.

Overall Impression — 9
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.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I feel like I should add: I'd MUCH rather they keep developing and working with new sounds, risking making stuff I dont like, rather than stick with the same old sound from any of their first three albums. Its ESSENTIAL that a band evolve.
    "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." Interesting. I couldn't imagine Josh Homme performing any of the songs on Humbug. That's nothing bad, I just think the Monkeys and the Queens are very distinct and are not a lot alike on any aspect. I bought Suck It And See blind, because even though you never know which genre will show up on a new Arctic Monkeys album, it's definitely always going to be very interesting, and Turner's such a great talent it's not easily going to suck. I still see the Arctic Monkeys as some sort of Beatles, reset.
    Album name sounds like a less than tasteful ho/pimp interaction. Heh, less than tasetful, oh irony.
    This is probably my favorite CD of the year. It's amazing. Alex Turner and co. never disappoint.
    Although not quite as masterfully worded like on Humbug, the lyrics on this album are brilliant. Arctic Monkeys fail to disappoint again.
    dark_rider92 wrote: iiiii nnnneeeeeddddd tttttooooo bbbbbuuuuyyyy ttttthhhhiiiisss...
    You need to fix your keyboard 1st. Good review, you can feel the QOTSA influence in them now, which is cool, i like it but i still think i like their 1st album better.
    Good review, you can feel the QOTSA influence in them now, which is cool, i like it but i still think i like their 1st album better.
    Funnily enough, my friends who love Queens really dislike this one. Each to their own I guess, but I'm still to listen to it
    I definitely consider Turner is among the best lyricists of the new scene, if not the best himself.
    What comes to Homme thing I must say that "All My Own Stunts" sounds just like TCV! The album itself rocks but I got some sort of fetish in humbug, which I find the best one from them so far. And what comes to "Suck It And See", well I must say I really enjoyed listening this straight from the first time. Calm start in from of "Shes Thunderstorms" is something new comparing to the first track on the first 3. Ok, "My Propeller" is also quite slow in the end. 2nd track is the only one that I would remove from album, it just sounds something like freakin Green Day... Then comes "Brick By Brick", it caused very much contradictory feelings from listeners, after hearing it live I finally lost all doubts about it. Simple but hell It still rocks you! Then to brilliance of the Monkeys, "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala" and "Thats Where Youre Wrong" are one of the greatest track of this year, maybe even of this decade, who knows? Everything just sets on place in these tracks, melodies are spectacular, lyrics are coming from someone high above, feeling can blow the damn roof out, just wonderful! I can say that I like the album, I love the album, I love the Monkeys. Still, I dont find it worthy of 10 as whole. It just misses little something, little something that made Led Zeppelin the greatest rock-band ever. However I enjoy listening everything that Monkeys have yet to made and Im looking so much to see what the future brings. Cheers.
    Interesting review. I've yet to reach a solid conclusion on this album after only a few listens, but I think the telling factor with this album was that this is the first Arctic Monkeys album I didnt rush out to buy the day it came out. I'm a big fan of theirs, and each of their first three album struck a different chord with me and showed a different side to Alex's writing. I thoroughly enjoyed them all from the first listen, and they only grew on me. Not so with "Suck it and See". I think this album lacks in variation and lacks the finesse Turner used to have with words. I really, really hope that my assessment of this album changes, or at least their next release is something more to my taste, because I'd hate for Arctic Monkeys to become another band I dont listen to anymore.
    After a quick listen I would say that many songs sound the same. Especially because "Brick by Brick" and "Don't sit down..." leave a permanent impression and stand out compared to the rest.