This album is one of the best albums I’ve heard in long while. In fact if the Mercury Music Prize was only given out once every five years, or once every ten years, or even once in a generation, AM would still be shortlisted, hell it would probably even win.
The real beauty of this album is how different it is. There is nothing like it out at the moment. It still has that glorious sludgy sound Arctic Monkeys have been pushing since Humbug, when they spent time in the Desert with Josh Homme, but since then the band have really found a new sound and made it theirs.
Do I Wanna Know? Is the first track and pretty much sets the pace. The slow pace of the thumping drums and powerful guitar is met with some of the best lyrics Alex Turner, (already one of the icons of this generation, who is just an early death away from one of the true greats of music), has ever written. “Been wondering if your heart’s still open and if so I wanna know what time it shuts” is just one of the examples of the pure genius he really is.
It feels like years since R U Mine? came out but it sounds no less powerful than it did 14 months ago. Here the band prove themselves not only as talented songwriters but genuinely credible musicians, if there was any doubt of that before. Past here, the album thunders along at some pace. One For The Road is a grower, No.1 Party Anthem is a ballad to be sung with your mates when you’re all trashed, rivalling Oasis, and Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? Adds some humour to the record. Knee Socks is one of my favourite tracks on the whole album, and about two-thirds of the way through includes some acapella singing that makes it sound like straight out the 70’s, and I Wanna Be Yours contains the voice of John Cooper Clarke, if any more needs to be said.
This is a truly special album that will be remembered and celebrated for countless years to come, and if it doesn’t win the Mercury Prize this year, I personally will find it difficult to keep faith in the award.
(update- though AM sadly did not win the Mercury Prize, it won a Brit Award which is almost as good)