Arctic Monkeys: Humbug

By: Dennis Cook

It appears Arctic Monkeys are in for the long run. At least that's the impression their fabo third full-length, Humbug (released August 25 on Domino), conjures, as the cheeky U.K. whippersnappers grow whiskers and heap on winning complications to what was already a fine formula. A contender for bloody sexiest album of '09, Humbug oozes hot 'n' bothered contemplation, harnessing something stickier and messier to their razor sharp tales of counsel flat living, only furthering the impression that singer-guitarist-songwriter Alex Turner and his mates are today's closest kin to The Jam and The Kinks going.

The Monkeys' debut stands as one of the finest in the past 20 years and the follow-up, Favourite Worst Nightmare, shored up their strengths and lost little momentum, but Humbug hints that we're perhaps looking at the next great British band, following in the footsteps of Blur, Oasis and Radiohead, who each grew by leaps and bounds with their third releases. One can smell the ambition here, and there's an appealingly restless creativity to the musical settings, aided ably by producers James Ford (Klaxons, Simian Mobile Disco, Peaches) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal). The Monkeys' continue to graft the hip swing of clubland to smartly jaundiced observations and prickly punkish propulsion, but there's increased whiffs of bittersweet understanding on this addictively listenable collection that shows these lads are fast becoming fully fleshed men.

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[Published on: 9/4/09]

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