Arctic Monkeys | Suck It and See (Domino Records)

I drool at the thought of what this album could have been had it been filled with harder rock tracks like these.

 

I have a theory that when it comes to music, the largest deciding factor in whether you like a track or not is your surroundings. When I lived in the UK I started listening to a lot more British rock—mostly because it was what my friends all listened to, and also because the music captured the feel of what was going on culturally in Britain at the time. When I returned to the U.S., those same mixes no longer had the same feel, and except for in my memories I didn’t enjoy them as much. That’s the same feeling I get listening to the new Arctic Monkeys album, Suck It and See.

Although a couple of songs seriously stand out for their inherent rock quality, the bulk of the album makes it clear that we’re outsiders to this music. In fact the title itself, Suck It and See, proves this disconnect; while a tad taboo in the U.S., this is actually a common expression in the UK, meaning to try something unknown and see what happens. During an interview, lead singer Alex Turner told UK radio station XFM “They think it is rude, disrespectful. They’re putting a sticker over it in America in certain stores—big ones.”

Quite a few of the songs on this album are characteristic of the modern British indie sound and come across as very watered down and nothing powerful or surreal. Some of the more lackluster tracks include “Library Pictures,” “Love Is A Laserquest,” and “Suck It and See,” to name a few. In Britain, however, Suck It and See became their fourth album to go straight to number one upon its release.

Their last album, Humbug, came out of the gate swinging. Opening with “My Propeller,” continuing with “Secret Door,” and taking you through “Dance Little Liar,” Humbug sounded like they’d locked themselves in a room with a Ouija board and out came the album. Suck It and See touches on that sound a couple of times but intertwines the more subdued British indie sound in the process. Two of the most notable songs on the album “Brick By Brick” and “Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” will make the album come alive for those more rock-oriented listeners. I drool at the thought of what this album could have been had it been filled with harder rock tracks like these.

It would be a serious understatement to simply say the Arctic Monkeys’ sound has evolved throughout the past few years. The band has experimented with so many different sounds, sometimes all in one album, that you’re never really sure what to expect. With that said, this album is definitely one you have to listen to a few times before it grows on you. You will undoubtedly find yourself quoting, randomly throughout the day, a line or two you don’t even remember hearing. B+ | Jennifer Manjarez

 

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