Compiled mostly of love songs - one can only guess these were written with Alex Turner’s then girlfriend, Alexa Chung, in mind - Suck It and See varies hugely from each of the band’s three previous studio albums. Gone are the days of Turner’s punchy, insulting lines and his strong Sheffield twang. Make way now for a new Artic Monkeys – who wear leather with their hair in 1950s “Teddy boy” style. The band have mellowed somewhat and this is obvious from the sound on their latest album.
Suck It and See is arguably one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year. It did not disappoint. Their previous album, Humbug released in 2008, was a far cry from their usual sound and was not received as well as the others by fans. These fans were now eager to hear what the boys’ sound would be like this time around. Boy, were they in for a treat.
“Brick by Brick” was released in March of this year, almost 3 months before the release of the album. Turner stands down at this point and drummer Matt Helders takes the role of lead vocalist. For this reason, any self-respecting Monkeys fan would be forgiven for not instantly recognising the band on this track The next track released from the album was titled ‘Don’t sit down ‘cause I’ve moved your chair’ (this time with Turner reclaiming his mic’). Again, any fan would be forgiven for not recognising this track as one of the ‘Monkeys own. This time not because of the vocals but because the sound of the song is so unlike anything they have done before. Sure it has some flashes of their previous dry wit with lyrics such as: “do the Macarena in the devil’s lair…but just don’t sit down ‘cause I’ve moved your chair”. But the guitars are heavy and do not sound too dissimilar to a Metallica or Queens of the Stone Age track (no, seriously).
Having said this, these two tracks were not a sign of things to come and definitely the least representative tracks from the album. Although these two had a gritty, guitar filled sound to them both, what was to come from the remainder of the album was actually pretty mellow. “Love is a laserquest” and “Suck it and see” are both very melodic and actually quite romantic lyrically. ‘Reckless Serenade’ and “Hellcat Spangled Shalalala” are festival ready’ and “Library pictures” and “She’s Thunderstorms” make hints and strong reference to the second album, “Favourite worst nightmare”.
All in all, a huge improvement. The band may have lost their original sound that they were loved for but this album makes us forget their mistakes and remember why we loved them before. With age comes wisdom and one can only guess that the boys are too old to be writing lyrics and singing about pimps and prostitutes now.