I spent half of 2011 hating this album. Utterly hating it. It might have been because the first introduction of this record was a ghost online apparition of the highly-James-Ford-charged track ‘Brick By Brick,’ which made me so confused that I had to go back and double check if I linked to the correct song a couple of times after hearing it. Or maybe I fell out of love when the cover art was revealed (a plain colour with ‘Suck It And See’ written in the middle, in plain black) or, maybe the plot thickened when the actual first single was ‘Don’t Sit Down Cause I Moved The Chair’, which, taken out of context sounded like a forgotten B-side of James Hetfield’s side project.
Well I was wrong. Yes, I admit it, I was profoundly wrong. Turner played us all, with their awkward marketing tricks to frighten off the fools, and I almost become one of those idiotic haters. But, I finally saw the light after listening to the full 12 tracks that constitute potentially the best Arctic Monkeys album to date.
What we have in Suck It And See (the fourth Arctic Monkeys studio album and their fourth consecutive #1 album) is a very palpable reminiscence to the 60s pop era, balancing between acid (seemingly endless) post-indie riffs and the mellow (ironically), romantic melodies knitted below the emotions portrayed in Turner’s sharp lyrics.
In Alex Turner’s land, you are not sad, you “look like you’ve been for breakfast at the heartbreak hotel”, you are not jealous, you are like “a leather studded headlock”, and you are certainly not sexy, you are making him “wanna blow the candles out just to see if you glow in the dark”.
We are no longer singing about scoring some lagers in the back of a van, experiences changed, feelings changed, the band changed but not one of this classic pop structured future anthems is disposable.
We go from the multi-layered walk-in-the-park friendly ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’ to the Humbug-esque thicker mysterious bass lines and semi solos of ‘All My Own Stunts’, and if you’re feeling nostalgic I can give you ‘Library Pictures’, which comes with a fast paced intriguing bass topped with two racing guitar riffs and Helders hitting (and heating) up the drums like an elephant being chased by a tiger in the African Savannah. All very Arctic-2006, and delivered in little more than 2 mins.
‘Reckless Serenade’ will leave you helplessly looking back into all your lost loves, searching for atmospheres as bright and dusty as the loopy riff that appears out of nowhere in the middle of the track, and maybe ‘That’s Were You’re Wrong’ will sent you back to the Californian shores with a banana smoothie in one hand and a beach volley ball in the other. It’s all about the scenery, and these Arctic Monkeys know how to deploy it straight from your ear drum to your retina.
In times when the power of guitar bands is being questioned and reassured on a daily bases it is great to have Arctic Monkeys to remind us how effortlessly and organically it can be done. They are always one step ahead of themselves, which actually means one mile ahead of the rest of us mere mortals.
Words & Photo: Carolina Faruolo