Arctic Monkeys - AM
When talking about the Arctic Monkeys, it’s impossible not to bring up The Walkmen at the same time. Both started from the same place: youthful rockers set to make a name for themselves, playing music with the energy of every fiber in their being. Both bands carry still terrific records in their early discography and from there, began to stylistically age. The trouble was with the U.K.’s group, their musicianship quickly fell to an uninteresting slacker pace while our band, The Walkmen, aged rather gracefully over relatively the same number of years.
Enter AM: the latest in Arctic Monkeys’ underwhelming course of depreciation since 2009’s Humbug. While the relevant discussion for some fans may be which record since than has been the least disappointing, the fact remains, we are left with neither an energetic, witty alt-rock group nor one who’re growing up sensibly.
Admittedly, AM offers some of Arctic Monkeys’ finer instrumentation and composition in years; the first half of AM plays out like an improved version of Black Keys’ all-too-casual El Camino. Lead member Alex Turner still drops the ball on the group’s declining ability to produce clever or substantial lyrics. Even with a change of pace, AM hardly, if ever, piques one’s interests lyrically; throwing out vapid tales of first world problems interfering with lousy relationships and shallow feelings. While the softer sounds can be overlooked, the inescapable lack of personality, sense of deviance and sharp lyrical wit which once made Arctic Monkeys so exciting to listen to makes it impossible for records like AM enjoyable.
Many youthful bands are having their luck catch up to them in recent years and the Arctic Monkeys are on top of that list. With each album, this indie rock quartet veer towards a more skeletal sound, only to reveal how internally dull they’ve been all along, sans the urgent jams and English snark. AM may be the best record the group has put out in 4 years, but that’s still not saying much. (6/10)
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