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Album review: Arctic Monkeys’ ‘AM’

The rock band matures on its fifth studio album.

By Blake Beck | Sept. 11, 2013

Tags: Music Reviews


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No other band capitalized on the early-2000s rock revival like the Arctic Monkeys.

A group of 20-something lads from England, the band took indie rock by storm in 2006 with its celebrated debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Seven years later, however, the Arctic Monkeys are not the youthful and vivacious kids of yesteryear.

Like wine, the Arctic Monkeys have gotten better with time, and the group’s fifth album, AM, is a testament to that. The record marks the maturation and evolution of a group that has always been on the cusp of becoming a “grown-up” band. The transition is now complete.

It is evident by the tall, dark and handsome opener, “Do I Wanna Know?” The track’s innate sexiness is a trait that rings throughout the album’s entire duration, thanks in part to the surplus of groovy basslines and infectious falsettos that can be heard on songs like “One for the Road” and “I Wanna Be Yours.”

Not surprisingly, the album’s provocative sound suits Alex Turner’s lyrics to a tee. The frontman sings of midnight heartbreak, ergo the title AM, and failed romance. Every one of Turner’s words drip with regret, frustration and lust: things just about anyone can relate to.

But the best thing about AM is not its rhythmic pulse or Turner’s lyricism. It’s the strong Arctic Monkeys vibe that I have come to know and love. The band’s distinct sound hasn’t gone anywhere as each chorus is more invigorating than the last, and the guitars are just as feisty.

I think Turner puts it best on “Mad Sounds.” The tambourine-laden ode to the dance floor features a chorus with an accurate description of the album itself: “Mad sounds in your ears / Make you get up and dance.”

AM is full of mad sounds, and I certainly wanted to dance.

MOVE gives AM 4 out of 5 stars.

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