Monday, September 7, 2009

Review: Arctic Monkeys - Humbug (* * * *)

For the first few years of their mostly acclaimed career Arctic Monkeys had failed to really impress me – that is to say, live up to my lofty expectations incurred by their many adoring fans and critics. Admittedly, I understand the appeal of the group’s dark, sexy rock ‘n’ roll and found the occasional single to be enjoyably infectious and fun, but I felt the band failed to conjure much of an identity beside their precision drum/guitar/bass attack and the recognizable croon of Alex Turner (and perhaps Turner’s dry sarcasm, if that counts). Maybe a better way to explain this is that Arctic Monkeys have always had the right ingredients but rarely showed any of the soul or character that made contemporaries like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party so much more compelling. You could certainly argue that both Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and Favourite Worst Nightmare were as consistent, if not more so, than the likes of Franz Ferdinand or Silent Alarm. But Franz Ferdinand’s party-rock attitude and Bloc Party’s jagged, emotional explosiveness made their respective debuts especially rewarding listening experiences despite any missteps or weaknesses. With Arctic Monkeys, however, the material just seemed devoid of personality despite its many strengths, which was especially evident on the group’s emotionally flat sophomore effort. (Continue Reading...)

Watch the video for "Crying Lightning"