Album Review
Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See Album Cover

Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See

Reviewed by
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It is well documented that Arctic Monkeys fans are forever yearning for another album in the vein of their debut and it needs to be addressed for those people outright: this is not that album. However, Arctic Monkeys have constructed an album that sounds like another classic in a completely different sense. Suck It And See sounds like a timeless album, full of 60s influenced guitar hooks that swell and jangle with warm and spacious tones and crowd-pleasing sing-a-long lines sewn in.

The band's previous effort was somewhat of a curve ball. Taking themselves out of England where Turner's tales seemed to be focused and into the Mojave Desert with Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age, it was clear that this influenced the slightly more "psychedelic" sound to their new songs and unfortunately the record may have forced this aspect a little too much, to the point where it all just felt a little less sincere or genuine than their other releases. It most certainly wasn't a poor effort in any sense, but for the avid fan, something just didn't quite sit right. Suck It And See, however feels like the album Humbug always wanted to be and for all the right reasons. Turner traded his short sharp delivery for a more crooner style vocal a while ago, but now he really sounds comfortable and natural in his approach. The band also manages to balance their very well executed dream-like compositions and guitar riffs (which could give Johnny Marr a run for his money) with the more gritty and raw classic rock 'n' roll approach. All of this contributes to what is overall, a fantastic listen.

"She's Thunderstorms" lends itself as the perfect introduction. A chilling guitar that seeps tones which are reminiscent of "Secret Door" or even "If You Were There, Beware", is soon accompanied by Turner's delicate vocals before a pounding rhythm section kicks in and pulls you along with the flow. This somewhat gentle ride carries on into "Black Treacle" which sounds like their take on Kings Of Leon's "Black Thumbnail". Unfortunately, with both tracks carrying a very similar pace so early on, you can start to feel like you are in for a very blurred and repetitive ride. "Brick By Brick" provides a welcome gear shift, a track that, whilst on it's own could seem like a lazy extension of Humbug, when surrounded by the rest of the album proves to be a real highlight and furthers the vintage sensibility of the record.

It's at this point on Suck It And See that everything feels like it's really found it's groove. The following 5 or 6 tracks are the obvious highlight, summarising every aspect of the band's progression and skill perfectly. "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala" oozes nostalgia and the vocals flourish whilst still providing the classic Turner-esque lines like, "I took the batteries out my mysticism and put them in my thinking cap". It is without a doubt going to become a live highlight, particularly at this summer's festivals. The single "Don't Sit Down Because I've Moved Your Chair" thrusts everything into a more raw and dirty sound and the band continues this feeling with "Library Pictures", which seems to sound like a mash-up of the previous three albums in the best way possible and because of this, will undoubtedly be a fan favourite.

Things start to ease up and creep out of the grittier sound by returning to the spacious landscaping on "Piledriver Waltz", a full band version of the song Alex Turner recorded for the Submarine soundtrack, and the remainder of the record maintains this approach. It's at this point, that on first listen everything seems to feel like the record is a bit middle-heavy and now starts to tail off towards the end. Even to the point when it could be argued that the aforementioned chunk of songs could just be released as an incredibly high scoring EP. However, on further listening, it becomes apparent that the craft of the last few songs could well be some of the best material the Arctic Monkeys have ever written. For example the album closer, "That's Where You're Wrong", genuinely feels like a ride off into the sunset after a summer road trip. The reverb drenched guitars and smooth vocals instantly evoke a feeling of a fond summer all wrapped up in just over 4 minutes.

It should be said that Suck It And See does suffer in various areas, most notably in songs where the band falls back into the trap of an all-too-steady pace. You can sometimes find yourself drifting away from the songs due to the repetitive feel of the the instrumentation, the tempo forcing you into a lull or the tone in Alex Turner's voice being too similar throughout certain portions of songs. It is to the band's credit, then, that this album picks itself up relatively quickly if any of these factors do start to come into play and they become even less apparent with each further listen of the album. Fans may also be disappointed in the lack of obvious single choices from this full-length, which unfortunately becomes a deciding factor for many listeners of the band. But this is a brilliantly constructed album and could arguably be the most cohesive record the band have ever released. It should be recognised as such, rather than a hunt for the next "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor".

Suck It And See is an example of a band who has broken away from the poisoned chalice of "the hype machine" by riding out the wave and always doing things on their own terms. This ends up with the Arctic Monkeys really making a name for themselves and reaching a place most bands can only dream of. A milestone for the band, this album documents their progression from beneath the boardwalks to one of the best British bands in recent history.

Recommended If You LikeThe Smiths, Arctic Monkeys post-debut album material, The Strokes

Additional InformationTracklisting:

1. She's Thunderstorms
2. Black Treacle
3. Brick by Brick
4. The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
5. Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair
6. Library Pictures
7. All My Own Stunts
8. Reckless Serenade
9. Piledriver Waltz
10. Love is a Laserquest
11. Suck It and See
12. That's Where You're Wrong

Alex Turner - Vocals, Guitar
Jamie Cook - Guitar
Nick O'Malley - Bass, Vocals
Matt Helders - Drums, Vocals

Official website
Absolutepunk profile
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 28
01:02 PM on 05/30/11
Is This It
User Info.
J.Hearne's Avatar
what an album, wasn't expecting much but this is so so good.
01:18 PM on 05/30/11
this is it boys, this is war
User Info.
jesse-k's Avatar
Not a great album on first listen, but grows on you and then you fall in love with it. Also, Thats Where You're Wrong is awesome.
03:08 PM on 05/30/11
So it goes...
User Info.
roche's Avatar
Didn't really make much of an impression, but I'll give it another listen some other time.
04:41 PM on 05/30/11
Straight outa Compton!
User Info.
|adr3naLine|'s Avatar
Arctic Monkeys definitely got into the wonders of acid. After the video for Don't Sit Down, I made a joke about it in the comments, but the title just hit me too.
06:06 PM on 05/30/11
User Info.
salmarnirecho's Avatar
wasn't really excited about this record, but i'm loving it right now. "Love is a Laserquest", "Piledriver Waltz", and "Hellcat" are fandamntastic.
06:41 PM on 05/30/11
Steeeve Perry
Pushin' th' little daisies
User Info.
Steeeve Perry's Avatar
If the guitars truly rival Marr's work, an 8 is far too low for musicianship.
Even George Starostin said Marr is one of the all-time best.
07:04 PM on 05/30/11
What are you waiting for?
User Info.
KingsCrossing's Avatar
That really is what she said.
07:26 PM on 05/30/11
Registered User
User Info.
FoxVsWolf's Avatar
Was worried about this record for a long time but it's simply fantastic. I can't stop listening to The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala.
08:26 PM on 05/30/11
the other Kyle.
User Info.
MorningStar10's Avatar
79%..Now 'That's where you're wrong'! haha first review I have read of yours, I would put this as Arctic's second best album, the guitar is awesome, Hellcat, Reckless Serenade, Don't set down are all brilliant songs, as I have said before on this site, they are the first 'Great' band of the internet era.
09:36 PM on 05/30/11
Kicking it middle school
User Info.
album rules.
12:56 AM on 05/31/11
I'm Not Holden Caulfield
User Info.
TheZeroKid's Avatar
I love everything Arctic Monkeys have put out. Humbug took a little while to get used to, but I really grew to like it. I've only heard Suck It And See, but it's really looking like I'm gonna like it the more I listen to it.
04:28 AM on 05/31/11
Kyle Huntington
User Info.
Kyle Huntington's Avatar
79%..Now 'That's where you're wrong'! haha first review I have read of yours, I would put this as Arctic's second best album, the guitar is awesome, Hellcat, Reckless Serenade, Don't set down are all brilliant songs, as I have said before on this site, they are the first 'Great' band of the internet era.
I regard 79% as a high score. It's probably my third favourite by them, only just though, it could be tied second. Just because it's not in high 80s or 90s doesn't mean it's not fantastic to me, still. Just a different scoring method to others, I guess.
05:41 AM on 05/31/11
User Info.
Deadbolt01's Avatar
Nicely written review Kyle-o. Looking forward to hearing this.
06:25 AM on 05/31/11
Registered User
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Great album, really like the melodies and production on this one. The lyrics may not be as solid as before but there are still a lot of gems.

Good review, though judging by the descriptions and praise in the review, the 79% doesn't seem to do this album much justice at all. Probably a victim of the scoring system in this case, though it would be a shame if someone didn't read the review and just saw the score and went "79%? nah, can't be bothered with this one"

Search News
Release Dates
Best New Music
Submit News
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
Encore Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
Encore Podcast on iTunes
Encore on Overcast
AP.net on Tumblr
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate