Ever since the single 'R U Mine' was riotously released last February, there has been a bubbling, fiery anticipation from Arctic Monkeys fans worldwide, keen to see exactly how the bands fifth album would pan out. Released seemingly out of nowhere, the stark immediacy and roaring riffs of 'R U Mine' seemed to herald a brand new era in the short but incredibly successful timeline of the bands career, taking a wild step back from the vintage vibes held on Suck It And See, replacing it with a sudden, home-grown rocky grit and passion, similar to that which made their debut record, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I'm Not so relatable and successful worldwide.
Opening in the only way appropriate, the rumbling riffs of 'Do I Wanna Know?' spur AM into life, menacingly appealing to any guitar music lover out there, showing-off with a toe-curlingly brilliant, grinding riff that snarls beneath Alex Turner's swaggering lyrics and vocals. Unlike most singles these days, the steady, meticulous beat behind 'Do I Wanna Know?' slowly eats away inside the listener, not offering everything straight out, but retaining the singles brilliance behind the worn out shell of your computer or mp3's repeat button. Maintaining the heavy start, 'R U Mine' is the next instalment, before we encounter the first brand new album track, 'One For The Road'. Opening with some ghostly backing "woos" from drummer Matt Helders and a tinkering guitar line, 'One For The Road' is stripped-back instrumentally, allowing the bass line to take centre stage in a back to basics, no frills piece of classic Monkeys songwriting.
One of the albums stand-out singles follows in the shape of 'Arabella', a women that Alex Turner points out Arctic Monkeys fans are yet to meet; and to be fair she sounds pretty special. Turner croons behind a prickly guitar line, "But she’s a modern lover / It’s an exploration she’s made of outer space / And her lips are like the galaxy’s edge / And her kiss is the colour of a constellation falling into place"; a sure reminder that Alex Turner is still one of the most potent and inventive lyricists in the game.
Next, 'I Want It All' is a little lack-lustre and middle of the road, but this is quickly forgotten with the ironically titled 'No.1 Party Anthem', a song that pokes fun at those who wait for an appropriate anthem to end their night out. Although some Monkeys tracks fit this bill perfectly, 'No.1 Party Anthem' is however the slowest and most gracefully melodic on the album. Amongst a kind piano line and guitars, Alex Turner's ailing vocals truly excel, reminding you that his voice isn't purely suitable for wild rock tunes, but retains a more sincere edge when called upon.
Unlike in the slow 'No.1 Party Anthem', 'Mad Sounds' (another ballad) loses a little bit of the bands magic, crooning on dangerously long, as we mull over the proposition of something a bit grittier. That urgency is raised a little in the excellent 'Fireside', but truly finds its mojo again with their latest single, the funky 'Why Do You Only Call Me When Your High?', which debuted at Number 8 on the UK Official Top 40 a few weeks back, making it the band's first top ten hit since 'Florescent Adolescent', way back in 2007.
The album ends with the bounding trio 'Snap Out Of It' (that ironically reminds me of some newer Kasabian), the feisty 'Knee Socks' and the swooning closing piece, 'I Wanna Be Yours'.
Although it gently simmers at some points, AM snarls just about enough in total to prove an overall success. Undoubtedly their most mature record to date, this maturity hasn't manifested in a 'boring' way, but sees the band explore a stricter, more refined edge to their music, teasing their usual swaggering bravado in an overtly stylish and gutsy manner. After over 18 months of anticipation, AM truly delivers.
AM is due for release on 9th September, but you can stream the album in full from Itunes now; simply click here.