Album: Arctic Monkeys, Suck It and See (Domino)

3.00

The lumpy, somewhat stodgy sound that Josh Homme devised for Arctic Monkeys on 2009's Humbug has been mercifully discarded for Suck It and See, which represents a return of sorts to the pell-mell manner of their earlier albums.

To a point, anyway: the "hip, dip, dogshit rock'n'roll" of tracks like "Library Pictures" may hurtle along energetically, but it's rather like a dog chasing an imaginary stick: the poor pooch reaches where the stick should be only to find its owner – Alex Turner, in this case – has teasingly fooled it, with riffs and lyrics that don't really withstand more than the most cursory inspection. In some cases – notably the stilted "All My Own Stunts" – the song appears to have been thrown together from random bits of riff-flotsam that were lying about the rehearsal room. Others either borrow wholesale from previous bands – such as the New Order-esque closer "That's Where You're Wrong" – or are jerry-built from obvious influences: the ringing REM-ish arpeggios of the title-track, the Marr-like guitar-work of "Reckless Serenade", the Morrissey intonations of opener "She's Thunderstorms". Compared to the blast of fresh air that accompanied their debut, Suck It and See seems less confident in its approach.

Apart from its tense, shrill guitar break, "She's Thunderstorms" sounds like a leftover from Turner's Submarine soundtrack, beefed up for Monkey business; and "Piledriver Waltz" was actually more appealing in its Submarine arrangement, sounding here like just another snarky putdown rather than a romantic reflection. But by the sound of things, Turner is having trouble bringing his once zestful imagination to bear on matters of the heart. It's obviously all too easy for him to trot out overladen one-liners like "Do you still think love is a laserquest, or do you take it more seriously?" and "That's not a skirt, girl, that's a sawn-off shotgun, and I can only hope you've got it aimed at me", rather than mine his emotions for something deeper and less flip. And it's no excuse to claim, as he does in the latter song, that "I poured my aching heart into a pop song/ I couldn't get the hang of poetry".

There are exceptions, of course. I like the conceit in "Reckless Serenade" about calling up the voice of reason, and getting the answering-machine; and the line in "Black Treacle" about "somebody told the stars you're not coming out tonight, and so they found a place to hide" – though it's wasted in one of the more perfunctory curtains of thrumming chords. The best tracks arrive mid-album, with the keening guitar and "shalalala" backing refrain of "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala" followed by the oddly forbidding single "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair", with its repetitive, static riff and falsetto interjections. But the overall impression is of someone trying to disguise their true emotions with comic bluster: in that sense, ironically, it's a more macho album than Humbug, despite its lighter touch.

DOWNLOAD THIS Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair; The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala; Reckless Serenade

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen