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Album Review

Facing the third album blues, the Arctic Monkeys turned to Josh Homme, the Queens of the Stone Age mastermind renowned for his collaborations but heretofore untested as a producer. On first glance, it's a peculiar pair — the heirs of Paul Weller meet the heavy desert mystic — but this isn't a team of equals, it's a big brother helping his little siblings go wayward and get weird. Homme doesn't imprint his own views on the Monkeys but encourages them to follow their strange instincts, whether it's a Nick Cave obsession or the inclination to emphasize atmosphere over energy. Wading into the murk of Humbug it becomes clear that the common ground between the Monkeys and Homme is the actual act of making music, the pleasure of not knowing what comes next when an entire band is drifting inside a zone. Since so much of Humbug is about its process, it's not always immediately accessible or pleasurable to an outside listener, nor is it quite the thickly colored freakout Homme's presence suggests. The Monkeys still favor angular riffs and clenched rhythms, constructing tightly framed vignettes not widescreen epics, but they're working with a darker palette and creating vaguely abstract compositions, sensibilities that extend to Alex Turner's words too, as he trades keen detail for vivid scrawled impressions. Every element of the album reflects a band testing its limits, seeing where they could — not necessarily will — go next; it's a voyage through territory that's new to them as musicians (which doesn't necessarily mean that it's also new to their audience), offering at a peek at what lies beyond via three songs cut after the desert sessions, songs informed by what they learned during their sojourn with Homme. This trio of tunes, highlighted by "Cornerstone," aren't as darkly as evocative as the rest of the dense, gnarled Humbug but they're among the best songs the album has to offer suggesting that the record may mean more in the long-term that it does on its own. Nevertheless, Humbug makes two things clear: Arctic Monkeys are serious about being in a band, about making music, and they are the first major British band in generations unencumbered by fear or spite for America. Humbug was not done with hopes of breaking the American market or reacting spitefully against it, it is solely about big, loud, dark noise. No wonder Josh Homme sensed he had a band of little brothers in Arctic Monkeys.

Customer Reviews

it's good, and it's talent, but it's not the arctic monkeys we all know and love :(

i originally hated this album when it first came out , but i decided to pick it up again like 3 months later, and give it a good listen with an open mind. it's not bad. i mean, alex's voice sounds a lot better, and the guitars + drums sound like they worked really hard on them. however a lot of the songs are very depressing, or just dull, and unnapealling. there are some great tracks though: crying lightning, secret door, fire and the thud, dance little liar, and of course... cornerstone, which is one of the best songs they ever wrote in my opinion. if you miss the old arctic monkeys (which i sure do!), their new EP is slightly closer to their old ways, sort of but not entirely. for now, i'm just hoping their next album will be a little more fun, and exciting than this one.

The Day After You Stole My Heart Everything I Touched Told Me It Would Be Better Shared With You

I've waited to write a review of this album mostly because I just didn't know how to put it in words. A lot of people are complaining it's too different from earlier Arctic Monkeys albums. They're right, Humbug IS different, but amazing nonetheless. I've listened to this album for months and I've come to this conclusion. It's possible to fall in love with an album. Every song on Humbug is amazing, creative, catchy, and simply genius. Alex Turner is possibly one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. His way of words astounds me on this album. He's always been a creative story-teller but this...it stands above the rest. The sound is mint and the musicianship is excellent. I don't find this album boring at all, but mysterious and well...magical. It makes me feel as if I'm in a world where everything is like a carnival. Arctic Monkeys are developing and maturing, it's only natural and I love it. They pulled this off with flying colors and I can't wait to here more from them.

Highlights:
1) Fire and the Thud
2) Pretty Visitors
3) Cornerstone
4) Dangerous Animals

Though to get the entire experience of this album buy every song. If you're like me, you won't regret it.

Try it

Whether you like any of their other albums or not.. This album is great

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

By distilling the sounds of Franz Ferdinand, the Clash, the Strokes, and the Libertines into a hybrid of swaggering indie rock and danceable neo-punk, Arctic Monkeys became one of the U.K.'s biggest bands of the new millennium. Their meteoric rise began in 2005, when the teenagers fielded offers from major labels and drew a sold-out crowd to the London Astoria, using little more than a self-released EP as bait. Several months later, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What...
Full Bio
Humbug, Arctic Monkeys
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