Album Review – ‘AM’ by the Arctic Monkeys

AM is a strong album by the ever changing and increasingly massive Arctic Monkeys, of which Do I Wanna Know is its most obvious centerpiece, with an electric opening riff that wrenches you into the song and a thumping drum beat to match. Alex Turner’s gruff Sheffield accent is juxtaposed well by an almost nervous falsetto backing track that only adds to lyrical backdrop. Other notable highlights include Arabella, in which the guitar mixes an indie style with a huge distorted bite in the chorus that harks back to the rock giants of the 70’s – it is undoubtedly one of the most exciting tracks off the album in a live setting. ‘Why Do You Only Call Me When You’re High’ is one of the more recognisably indie tracks of the album, and the staccato muted guitar picking also seen in ‘One For The Road’ provides a modern feel used increasingly often in alternative bands of the Birmingham scene.

It’s a move away from the faster paced indie rockers that mark the Arctic  Monkeys’ most well-known tracks, such as ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dance-floor’, into a more epic and slower sound that is evocative of the anthemic tunes of Oasis – though in this case the anthems are much darker than the sunny rhythms of the Gallagher Brothers.

The only qualm that can be drawn really against  the album is the use of very similar drum beats throughout all the songs, and though it can serve to give the album a coherent feel, there is also a sense of laziness on behalf of the arrangement (especially with the use of a drum machine, rather than drummer Matt Helders, on several of the tracks).

All in all, ‘AM’ is a cracking album, and we’re glad that an alternative band could reach the No.1 spot in the UK Albums Chart, and even No.6 on the US Billboard 200 chart.

This article was written by Samuel Brunt.

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