Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Arctic Monkeys - Humbug (2009)

Who the fuck are Arctic Monkeys? Extraordinarily over-hyped British band from a few years back that released a fairly brazen freshman record and a solid sophomore effort. Humbug? Third record. Getting better? Yes. The real interesting thing about this album is that Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss, etc.) produced it and apparently encouraged these chaps to play like Kyuss -- that is to say, for no sake but for the music and for themselves. As a result, the album goes so far astray from what they've done before that it almost sounds like a new band. But by far the most impressive thing about this album is the fact that it is sluggish. Sluggish like a rainy dumpy Saturday afternoon stuck inside with no munchies and a dull but poignant hangover. Anyone heard their first two albums? Lotsa lotsa energy, quirky wordplay and snark. This? A fucking strange moody atmospheric drag. But a good one. Enough to lull you into a half-snooze but still retaining the chops to knock your ass backwards. If this were the 70s, it'd be grouped with "psychedelia." Except this isn't weird because of the drugs; this is weird because -- because they're weird? Or because Josh Homme produced it -- the guy whose last album featured Bulby the light bulb and whose website mailing list reads "Let Us Spam You"? You be the judge. "Fire And A Thud" is probably the only song I don't like -- perhaps "thud" more appropriately crystallizes my feelings towards it. Otherwise, my faves are "Potion Approaching," a great mid-tempo stomp that suddenly comes to a complete boozing crawl, "Crying Lightning" for its bass groove and choppy guitar lines, and the only frenetic song here, the punky "Pretty Visitors" -- my god! -- one of the lyrics is "What came first: the chicken or the dickhead?" 'Nuff said? B-


Jeff said...

I never understood all the fuss over the Arctic Monkeys. There music wasn't unique and it wasn't all that catchy. I heard pretty good things about this album, but their enormous hype is a turn off.

The Mad Hatter said...

I never understood the fuss either. But they're getting better, so that's not a bad thing. I didn't know this album was out until recently; that and the hype from a few years ago, so I wasn't listening to it with prejudice.