Album Review: Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

by Vanessa Romero on July 31, 2009

Why are the Arctic Monkeys quoting Dickens?

Why are the Arctic Monkeys quoting Dickens?

Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

Retail Release Date: August 25th, 2009

Leaky Faucet Acquisition Date: July 30th, 2009

The negative of listening to an early leaked version of an album is the possibility of subpar sound quality.  I really hope that this is what’s going on with the new Arctic Monkeys album Humbug and not that this is the way they meant it to sound.That being said, Humbug is the perfect title for the third release by the band whose sound has been getting darker and heavier with each album.  Despite the dance quality that has affected the band’s music, it has always had a darker sound at the same time. Replace the fast drumming of the past with this new heavier beat and it becomes Humbug.

The first single, “Crying Lightning,” is catchy, but not the best thing they’ve written, although I’ve never been a fan of their chosen singles.  Listening to the rest of the album, it’s not difficult to believe Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age fame produced some of it.  Songs like “Potion Approaching” sound at times like throwbacks to 70s hard rock.  The sinister circus sound of “Pretty Visitors” might be the most reminiscent of their earlier dance fare before it begins sounding like something Pink Floyd might have written, but it’s probably the closest you’ll come to “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” (if that’s what you are looking for).

I’m the type of person who is hesitant to change, but after a while when the different becomes familiar, I embrace it.  The Arctic Monkeys’ second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, was enough of a departure from their debut that it took a few listens for me to grow not only to like it, but for it to surpass the first for me.  Humbug is less of a departure from their second album, and thus easier for me to embrace, but I have yet to find a song on the album strong enough to affect me like some of their previous songs have.  It might just take a few more listens, and probably the final mix of the official release, for me to like it.  It’s hard to catch Alex Turner’s songwriting wit under all those crunchy guitars.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tony July 31, 2009 at 1:05 pm

A common thread these days, excellent songwriters, with great wit and turns of phrase, getting lost under the noise of the music and production.

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