After two years of anxiously awaiting the release of the Arctic Monkeys' new album, fans rejoiced at the Brit-indie band's newest installment, Humbug, released a few weeks ago.
The Arctic Monkeys, formed in England in 2002, are most famous for their raw, scrappy songs about life as teens living in London. Their debut studio album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006), gave rise to famous songs such as the danceable "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and the delightfully strange "When the Sun Goes Down."
While the Monkeys' second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007), preserved their catchy hooks and unmistakable English drawl, their newest album has a heavier, more mature feel. Some of the songs, such as the single "Crying Lightning" and "My Propeller," have a slightly psychedelic feel, with the addition of rolling bass lines and singer Alex Turner's venture to deeper vocal ranges.
The change in style could be attributed to the change in scenery the band experienced while recording. The first two albums were recorded in England, while Humbug was recorded in the Rancho De La Luna recording studio in the Mojave Desert; a famed location where many other alternative bands have also made albums.
A more influential force on the album was producer Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. Homme is known for his collaborations with musicians such as Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and members of the Strokes. His material usually consists of hard and alternative rock with a touch of psychedelics.
Even with Homme's influence, the Monkeys were still able to maintain their rough, witty lyrics, as well as their catchy choruses and hooks. In the track "Cornerstone," Turner croons about a past love and his desperation to find someone just like her: "I thought I saw you in the rusty hook / Huddled up in wicked chair / I wandered up for a closer look / And kissed whoever was sitting there."
Tracks such as "Poison Approaching" and "Pretty Visitors" are the most reminiscent of early Arctic Monkeys, preserving the danceable, rhythmic riffs that fans fell for in their first album.
While Humbug may have fans yearning for Turner's youthfulness that dominated Whatever People Say… and Favourite Worst Nightmare, the Monkeys' new maturity mirrors the growth their fans are experiencing now as well. Their original fan base was young teens and now as they mature, so too does the music.
The album shows a growth in the band that promises they will have a presence in the music industry for years to come.