An Arctic Monkeys album can be similar to an almost perfect meal out – lyrical genius, wit and anthemic tracks, but with the odd duff track thrown in. A bit like you chose the wrong wine to accompany what you ate, or the dessert that you probably shouldn’t have had was too chocolatey. You had a great night out but you wouldn’t chose that exact combination of fayre again. Still, anyone who can sing with a Yorkshire vernacular “D’ya reckon that they mek ’em tek an oath?” (Teddy Picker) qualifies for hero status in my eyes. So this is an eagerly anticipated album.
The opening track, Do I Wanna Know? (surely the single of the year so far?) drags you in with a relentless guitar riff and a delicious lull in the middle where Alex asks “Been wondering if your heart is open and if so I wanna know what time it shuts”. R U Mine (I’ll have to overlook the Toys R Us type spelling here) and One For the Road establish this as an album with monster guitar lines, under the skin hooks and high backing vocals to contrast Alex’s tone. Arabella is the rockiest track on the album. She’s some lady this Arabella – an out of this world girl that the sunset couldn’t match, who occasionally dips into reality. I think I’d like to be her. There’s a softer spell mid album with No. 1 Party Anthem and Mad Sounds which balance the album nicely.
At this point I’m beginning to think that maybe The Monkeys have really cracked it this time. I’m almost nervous now, in case something I don’t like comes along, but Fireside (with what sounds table tapping in the background) and Snap Out of It are hugely likeable tracks. Snap out of it is about desperately trying to stop someone you care for from falling in love with the wrong person (ie not you). “If that watch don’t continue to swing, or the fat lady fancies having a sing, I’ll be here waiting ever so patiently for you to
Snap out of it.” The latest single Why’d You Only Call Me When I’m High is sandwiched in the middle to get the epic factor back. The final track, I Wanna Be Yours, simply makes you gasp at the brilliance of daring to include lyrics like:
I wanna be your vacuum cleaner, Breathing in your dust
I wanna be your Ford Cortina, I will never rust
If you like your coffee hot, Let me be your coffee pot
I wanna be your ‘leccy meter, I will not run out
I wanna be the electric heater, You’ll get cold without
I wanna be your setting lotion, Hold your hair in deep devotion
To sum up, not only did they get the wine and the sweet stuff right, you could even have a sneaky port and not spoil this one. I salute thee Arctic Monkeys.