WHAT UP INTERNET. Dr. Socktopus has returned to excrete another intensely informative review into the Lightless Depths of the Moist Graffiti. Now. You know that I know that you know who the fuck the Arctic Monkeys are, so I won’t take too long to introduce them. In the year of our Lord 2006, Alex Turner and his band of bowl cut slangin‘ Sheffield droogs turned sub-mods released WYSIATWIN*, simultaneously inventing the iPod commercial and delivering guitar rock from the pits of buttrock Hell. Instantly dispelled was the great darkness that had settled over the Shire. Pre-blogosphere pundits who had formerly penned lengthy xangas about the death of rock upgraded instantly upgraded its condition to feelin’ fine. The boys quickly followed with their 2007 LP Favourite Worst Nightmare, a tense extension of the staccato hooks and acrobatic verses that characterized their first album. Don’t forget to staple your eyelids back on after the crescendo on this joint:
Subsequently**, in 2009 the Arctic Monkeys released Humbug in an attempt to convince everyone that they were tired of singing about breaking pool cues over morbidly obese bouncers. It was here that they made the mistake of enlisting the help of carbon-stain turned producer Josh Homme, who you may remember from Kyuss*** and a bunch of Super Shitty Super Bands. Gone were the Monkeys’ katana slash guitars and feverish recollections of the previous night’s debauchery, which were replaced with down-tempo, greasy riffs and ballads of increasing abstraction. It was heavy, and in the context of the Primates’ earlier triumphs, kind of awful.
Aside: on a lighter note, our readers may rest assured that Homme is not long for this plane of reality, as he recently took to the internet to virulently lambast Jay-Z for how thoroughly security searched his boy-hole at Made in America this year. Joshie even had the minerals to request that Hov “fuck off.” Mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn- nnnnnnnnthefuckyouthinkinbruhhhh? Needless to say, the Terrible Swift Sword of Jigga shall soon fall across Homme’s slim-jim filled neck. And I’m not talking some violent 1999 blapblap Darth Suge prosaic type shit. No. This will be a profound deletion from recorded history. The least awful thing that will befall ________**** will be Hov sending a PCP-ed out Justin Timberlake to _______’s grandmomma’s house to burn his childhood photo albums and devour his petrified baby shoes.
Having failed to achieve their desired sea change with Humbug, in 2009 the boys moved on with Suck It and See (shut up perv). Despite sharing a title with a popular frat-hazing ritual here in the U.S., apparently in the UK it means to “try it and see what happens.” The latter definition was actually the perfect attitude to approach the album with. Free from _______’s musical diabetes, Suck It and See featured a leaner sound, more honesty out of Alex Turner than previously seen, and even a few amp destroyers reminiscent of Favourite Worst Nightmare.
AM continues the trends begun on Suck It and See to good success. Alex and drummer Matt Helders lead the Monkey’s down an ever narrowing path of stripped down beats saturated in a steady groove. To quoth Turner on his thoughts on the joint, “[it’s] like a Dr. Dre beat, but we’ve given it an Ike Turner bowl-cut and sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster,” additionally citing “Outkast, Aaliyah and Black Sabbath” as influences. Dude. What? Are all U.K. rock wizards two dutchies deep when they give interviews on their album influences?
Annoyance at redundant titles and childish abbreviations aside, it’s apparent on tracks like “R U Mine?” “I Wanna Be Yours” and “Do I Wanna Know?” that Turner is growing restless and paranoid in his late night lotharian quests. More than anything, he wants to know that his devotions to a certain Sheffield phantom are as real as his dreams hope. Still, on the glammy “No. 1 Party Anthem” and quieter “Mad Sounds,” Alex affirms that although he’s eternally got something blonde and leggy on his mind, there’s still plenty of time for he and his mates to puke in alleys behind their favorite public houses (or at least sing about doing it in an ironic fashion).
However, you and I both know that we came to hear the boys shred first and wax poetic later. Unfortunately, AM features nary a barn destroyer in sight even when compared to the sparse, brooding Suck It and See. If one can find peace with this depressing fact, then you’ll absolutely find a series of rich, creamy grooves to ruminate over (Helders’ delicious drumming does a lot of heavy lifting here). But, if you’re like me and fondly recall the first time someone hit you with an empty bottle of MGD at a Monkeys show, that proposition is a big damn if.
Nonetheless, even if AM is less than ideal for a brownstone brownout and doesn’t have any truly arresting hooks, if you trade your peacoat for a cardigan and a fireplace you won’t be disappointed for a moment.
Moist Graffiti Rating
Funky Parlour Grooves: 74.613
Alex Turner’s Lonely
Heart Murmur: 64.464
Lack of Josh Homme Production: +100
Josh Homme Still Provides Vocals
On “Knee Socks” and
“One For The Road”: -99
MG Rating: 70.646
As always, thank you kindly for thumbing through the Crumbling Codices of the Moist Graffiti, and stay tuned until next time, wherein I take 40 ounces of Guerilla Maab Hate Rap straight to the neck. Well. Straight to where it would be if I had one.
*Whatever You Say I Am That’s What I’m Not. Even inserted into that sentence as a proper noun, said phrase wrecked the subject verb agreement like bacon at a bar mitzvah.
**Turner and Miles Kane of The Rascals/Little Flames/Shitdick Solo Career dropped their The Last Shadow Puppets joint between Favourite Worst Nightmare and Humbug, which is well worth revisiting at a later juncture. Alas, it is distinct from linear Arctic Monkeys mythology.
***Kyuss gets a separate mention because of the super sweet Dungeons & Dragons reference, but only just. I play a 17th level half-elf wizard when I’m not spraying ink on these humble scrolls or experimenting with my homemade drank recipe.
****See?! My keyboard wouldn’t let me type ______’s name just then. THE WRATH OF HOV HATH ALREADY COMMENCED.