Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Arctic Monkeys - Suck It & See

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Style: post-punk, alt rock, British
Label: Domino
Year: 2011
Home: England

Members: Alex Turner ~ vocals/guitar
Jamie Cook ~ guitar
Nick O'Malley ~ bass/b. vocals
Matt Helders ~ drums/b. vocals

Guest: Josh Homme ~ b. vocals


How bands get advertised, promoted & written about has a tendency to put into your head a preconceived notion of the music that may or may not be true & very well might give the wrong impression & stop a potential fan from investigating the music further. Due to their write-ups I never figured the AM were a band I'd be interested in much & never heard anything from them nor gave it a second thought. Having their 2011 release pushed my way I almost was forced to listen or maybe I was just having a good day & in a willing mood to say sure. Maybe the PR for the AM has been a little off or directed to a different audience or maybe I've misinterpreted it, but I feel the result is that I've gotten the AM wrong, or at least their 2011 release Suck It & See. Now, I'll say right now that this is the only album I've heard from them, so some fans might say I'm not getting the right perspective or have the wrong album or not their best album or a very different album or what have you. Those would all be potentially valid arguments, but at the same time you can't expect every person to always get the right album first. I'm sure I'm not the only one whose introduction to the AM was through Suck It & See. I can't count how many bands I've discovered through the wrong album. Sometimes that's hurt as I didn't go farther, other times I liked the worst ... & surprisingly didn't like the best of. As they say, you can't change the cards fate has dealt you ... well, I can't change the CD fate has passed to me. So, if anything, make this review of AM according to Suck It & See ... & if you don't like what I write, then suck it & see another reviewer's blog. Obviously, this is not the band I expected to hear when the CD started playing. A few immediate things come to mind: 1. No song really stands out as a big single, but there are a lot of great songs here primarily driven by enjoyable memorable lyrics, if at times anti-climactic, 2. The music is far more melodic & not at all the cluttered alt rock I thought the AM played, 3. Can you say retro 80's flashback with a flow that feels more like new wave meets Iggy Pop, rather than any 2011 musical style. I've seen the AM described as neo-punk, which was what I was expecting, not something that sounds like Dave Edmunds or Paul Weller ... so I either saw some bad PR or confused the band with another one, while both options are likely. If the AM were punk in the beginning they certainly aren't here by any stretch of my definition of punk. On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of punk in any past or present form, so maybe they are punk but it's my luck I find them at their least punkish. The angsty lyrics, angry music or fast songs I equate with punk aren't here, so maybe this is post-post-punk ... don't quote me on that, though. The highlight for me is the singing, without a doubt, & essentially the biggest thing I can recommend about this album, besides its flashback retro feel. The music doesn't go really anywhere for me, never really getting me too excited or providing any background that really grabs me as interesting, but the singing is solid, heavily melodic & not screaming, shouting or untuneful gargling. This is a far better album than I expected, with a solid though anti-climactic set of songs, & I would even venture to say that anyone who says new music isn't very good might change their mind a bit with a listen here. If nothing else they would realize that the classic days of music hasn't been forgotten but simply updated.

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