Arctic Monkeys, AM

Many groups have been labelled the best or most important British band since (insert name of fallen heroes here), but none have had the diversity of arsenal with which Arctic Monkeys can attack.

And so we’ll say it with absolute sincerity – the most important British band of the last 10 years are back with their fifth album, and it’s an undeniable masterpiece.

AM is, from start to finish, brilliant.

Ever since the band hooked up with Queens of the Stone Age supremo Josh Homme on their third record, Humbug, they have adopted Homme’s beautifully dirty guitar sound.

Every riff cuts through with delicious arrogance. For evidence, just listen to the crowd at Glastonbury this year singing the guitar line to Do I Wanna Know?

That song opens this record and sets a quite remarkable tone.

It is followed swiftly by another familiar tune, R U Mine? Out for just a few months as an unofficial b-side to Do I Wanna Know?, it’s already a classic.

And so on to the all-new material. One For The Road is a laid-back affair which illustrates the band’s ever expanding list of influences.

Jazzy and sleazy, it’s a great indication of where the band are at musically.

Arabella is a different beast altogether and you could easily imagine Snoop Dogg rapping over its hip hop verses. But when it hits the chorus, the Monkeys go all Black Sabbath.

It’s another of those instantly classic riffs.

I Want It All is the closest thing to a Britpop tune on this record, bouncing along all carefree and cheerful. Alex Turner is on typically wonderful lyrical form, and he even shows off some falsetto skills.

Turner is fast becoming the new Morrissey when it comes to the words he puts to his music. Lyrically, there is no-one who can touch him.

No.1 Party Anthem is anything but. Instead it’s this album’s Cornerstone, a beautiful ballad drenched in typical Monkeys wit and refreshingly free of sentiment.

Fireside and recent single Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? are other highlights, but there’s no filler on this album.

And on I Wanna Be Yours, the Monkeys put one of John Cooper Clarke’s most impressive poems to music, with spectacular results.

Arctic Monkeys are a band at the peak of their powers, and as a live prospect they are a cut above the rest.

Get some AM in your life.

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