It has been awkwardly exciting hearing The Arctic Monkeys grow up. Eloquent and skilled as they are the band always seems to limit themselves on record. Some corner to back into as they switch off the lights—yet this reckless abandon (or, well, shitty songs) just added to their naïve charm. The band is constantly evolving, albeit by a painstakingly slow process, still they cannot help but glimmer with promise. Each record brimming with enough undeniable gold between Alex Turner’s articulate observational lyrics and the band’s crisp post-punky rock to compensate for the handful of junk songs bound to congest the track list. Suck It and See the band’s fourth full length runs a similar route as its predecessors in that the Arctics have changed (they sound “vintage” happy) and yet the record is frustratingly appealing. Turner is still sharp and the instrumental focus on Brit Pop (classic 60's, 80's twee, 90's Revival you name it) fits the band extremely well but not comfortable enough to keep. You cannot help but feel like Suck It and See is just another costume The Arctic Monkeys are playing with before they toss it to the side with all the others.
It is not that Suck It and See is a bad record. On the contrary out of all the post-debut-experiments the Arctics sound the most at ease on this record. At first glance though one could be forgiven for assuming the band would continue their sullen journey into grumpy depths of stardom by somehow topping the pessimism of naming an album Humbug (2009) with Suck It and See. Thankfully though, regardless of what Grungey lead-off single “Don’t Sit Down 'Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” and its single B-Side “Brick By Brick” may have us believe initially, the record as a whole is a breath of fresh air for a band seemingly on the verge of suffocation. Strange really that a group so talented at being curmudgeons excel under a veil of happiness.
There is exuberance within songs like “She’s Thunderstorms” and its wiry guitars or the dreamy post-punk of “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala” or woozy-surf rock of the title track that was sorely missing from their last record. Furthermore was attained only by way of bouncy instrumentation on their first two records. This time around Turner sounds less snarky and omnipotent; that chip on his shoulder is worn with a true earnest and even as the band struggles to hammer out their identity it is a safe assessment to say he is the Arctic’s greatest asset. As a lyricist he’s nearly impeccable, especially when it comes to a great hook, it is just unfortunate this young band is still attempting to find their footing—but boy has it been a hell of a ride so far. As such we can view Suck It and See as less a strange come on and exalted proclamation and more a plead to pay attention: Won’t you give us a try? The Arctic Monkeys inquire and Suck It and See surely warrants them at least a little more attention.
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
Arctic Monkeys are an alternative rock band formed in Sheffield, England, United Kingdom in 2002 after meeting at Stocksbridge High School. The band consists of Alex Turner (vocals, guitar), Jamie 'Cookie' Cook (guitar), Nick O'Malley (bass) and Matt Helders (drums, vocals). Founding bassist Andy Nicholson left in 2006.... read more