Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

It’s the hour of the ‘Monkeys’ with hit indie-rock album, ‘AM’

The Arctic Monkeys are an indie rock group, consisting of late 20-somethings that hail from America’s motherland, England, and have just released their fifth album “AM.”

Their four previous albums have managed to garner critical and commercial success, but mostly abroad. Their first album, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” went 4x Platinum in their homeland, and also landed them a triumphant spot at #371 on Rolling Stones 500 Best Albums of All Time list; that’s nothing to sneeze at.

The Arctic Monkeys haven’t received much airplay on KROQ, Los Angeles’s “rock” station, but due to the bands cult following here in the U.S. they still manage to sell out venues from coast to coast.

Truthfully, I don’t have much familiarity with any of their previous albums, besides randomly coming across their singles at a club or through friends, but due to their popularity among other music lovers I know, I decided to give “AM” a try.

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I have to say that this album took a while to merge into my auditory wavelength. At the first complete listening, I thought this album was a letdown but it may have been because of my preconceived notions of the band.

What I was expecting from the album was stadium churning anthems and club bouncing kick drums.

What I got was sauntering licks, slurred lovelorn lyrics,  and nostalgic ballads.

No outright raucous or boisterous singles, just dawdling catchy chants, ushered by heavy riffing guitars.

The aptly titled track, “No. 1 Party Anthem,” embodies this sentiment, as it nothing like a party anthem.  As do the first and second singles, “R U Mine,” and “Do I Wanna Know,” respectively.

Now, after all this being said, these songs are great ambassadors of what to expect. After a few more listens to the album, I was sold.

Going through the previous albums, the Arctic Monkeys had a distinct lo-fi sound, but not any more.

They seem to have graduated from 4 track recorders to real studio equiment.  The album feels complete in terms of audio quality and also length.  Every instrument is played with expert finesse. Lead singer’s Alex Turner’s vocals come through loud and clear.

His lyrics are exceptional yet forgettable, almost like the seasoned vet was writing from the heart, rather than for the masses. Each song seems like it chugs along, and never does a track feel overbearing to the senses.

No song feels like a run on sentence, where you’re left waiting for the period to end the thought. Each track is concise, as is the album. AM is packed with 12 tracks that leave you feeling satiated and your wallet feeling fulfilled.

Straight up, the best track on the album is “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High.”

The track begins with a simple yet catchy drumbeat, and out of nowhere the protagonist begins to tell his story.

An intoxicated phone call to an estranged beneficial friend. The chorus kicks in and the guitars pizzicato their way along. A beggar cannot be a chooser, but this guy does not know when to quit.

After having made several phone calls to his acquaintance, with no luck of getting through, the protagonist leaves a voicemail, “”Now it’s three in the morning and I’m trying to change your mind,” only to realize he has his own voicemail to answer, “Why’d you only call me when you’re high? Hi.”

The bridge picks up with a sobering message of, “You’re starting to bore me.” That’s a cold truth for a rock star with an elated state of mind.

Moral of the story: don’t be a big headed emobag thinking your proverbial position on top of the world will magically bring you anything, or anyone you please. That’s just not how the world works.

These English guys keep the good party going but you have to imagine that you’ve been partying for a few days straight.

You’re ready for a lull, but not quite ready for the party to end.  AM isn’t a rock your party with a “pimp cup” full of Cristal album; it’s an album you listen to over a glass of whiskey, enjoying a smoke, while you’re contemplating the next affair.

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