By Josh Morton
The title for the new Arctic Monkeys’ album “AM” works on more than one level. Besides the obvious connection that it is the abbreviation of the band name, there is the undeniable sense that this is an album that will hit the hardest when played after midnight; a fact that front man Alex Turner admitted to NME magazine that he took the idea from The Velvet Underground’s album, “VU.”
The fifth-album from the British indie rockers serves as a follow up to 2011’s “Suck It And See,” and brings the same energy they gave us with their 2006 debut album “Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not” while incorporating the almost surf-rock-blues sounds of 2009’s “Humbug.”
The album opens up with the tremolo-laced, monster stomp, “Do I Wanna Know?,” which sounds the way one might feel after a 4 a.m. motorcycle ride through the desert. “R U Mine?” is a full on rock’n’roll song complete with heavy guitar riffs, distorted bass, and drum solos around every corner. “One For the Road” is a slow yet steady-paced and falsetto-laced track that pairs up interestingly well with Turner’s Yorkshire drawl.
One of the standout tracks of the album is “Arabella,” a mysterious love song appropriately throwing reverb on lyrics:
“It’s an exploration, she’s made of outer space and her lips are the galaxy’s edge.”
If “AM” is the soundtrack to a night out on the town, “No. 1 Party Anthem” would play after the bar closed and everyone headed to the store to pick up more alcohol. This is followed up by the mellow “Mad Sounds,” which could double as both music for walking through a grassy field or a late night stroll down a sidewalk littered with crushed beer cans.
Foot stomps, toe taps and finger snaps will inevitably arise at any given moment throughout the entire album, especially on tracks like “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” and “Snap Out of It.” Guest appearances include Queens of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme providing back-up vocals on “Knee Socks” and Elvis Costello’s drummer Pete Thomas filling for drummer Matt Helders on “Mad Sounds.”
“AM” has the potential to satisfy the needs of the earliest members of the Arctic Monkeys fan base and a great place for new fans to start digging the band’s music.