The Arctic Monkeys released their 4th album, Suck It and See, on June 7, produced by James Ford at Sound City Studios in LA. The Monkeys make a return from the heavy California desert influence imbued by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme who produced the Monkeys’ 2009 album Humbug. This new album brings back some of the Monkey’s live sound that propelled their 2006 debut album Whatever You Say I am, That’s What I’m Not.
Homme’s influence still drips from all corners of the album. His impact is felt most on the track “Brick by Brick,” the first song the Monkeys made for the album, which is in essence a Queens/Monkeys hybrid that ends up being the best rock song on the album. (In a recent interview frontman Alex Turner says the band is already working on a follow-up to the track, Brick by Brick 2.0, entitled IDST (“If Dead Still True”)). Josh actually makes an appearance on the album by providing vocals on the track “All My Own Stunts” where his trademark howl dominates the song.
The band has progressed significantly as musicians and songwriters in the past 5 years, allowing them to create a complete album that is strong from start to finish. Suck It and See is technically solid and includes many beautiful tracks, but the Monkeys still fall short of the raw adrenaline that propelled their first two albums. The Monkeys are mastering their craft, and their professionalism shows through the seamless delivery of each track, but they are still searching for the synergistic fusion of their developing expertise as a studio band and the unbridled energy of their live shows. They have the ability to create something epic, but they aren’t quite there yet.
There are some great songs, in particular the opening track “She’s Thunderstorms” in which frontman Alex Turner’s lyrics paint a poetic and powerful picture of a woman as an elemental force. “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair” is the album’s first single and it captures the sound of the entire album: Turner’s impressive lyrics over guitars that ring with the Queens’ signature sound. Some of the Monkey’s reckless enthusiasm makes a brief appearance in the chaotic track “Library Pictures.”
~ For fans of Josh Homme and QOTSA this is a great album, although it may disappoint the Monkeys’ mainstream fan base. The album is very deep, be sure to give all the tracks a listen because there are some real gems.