This is without doubt the album that changed my life. It is my favourite album. EVER. Despite being turned on to Arctic Monkeys when I was 14 when I was handed a demo CD in my English lesson, it wasn’t until their third album, Humbug, until they established themselves in my mind as one of the best bands around. The album materialised after the Monkeys took a small hiatus whilst front man Alex Turner embarked on a side-project featuring then current Rascal, Miles Kane. In every bands lifetime, I always say that they will record at least one ‘death’ album. This is an album that is darker, more experimental and largely unpopular with the masses. And this is what ‘Humbug’ was, not receiving mass critical acclaim like their previous efforts and evidently dividing opinion.
Recorded in the desert with a certain Mr Joshua Homme, the band took a break from the charming British sound that had shot them to fame in the preceding years to adopt a Californian sound, a dark “stoner rock” alternative sound that shines through on tracks such as ‘Crying Lightning’ and ‘The Jeweller’s Hands’. However lyrically, the album speaks in metaphors and riddles though such proclamations as ‘My Propeller, won’t spin and I can’t get it started on my own’ or the enigma that is ‘Potion Approaching’. The lyrics also spell out an obsession with someone displayed through ‘Dangerous Animals’ which explicitly spells out the thrill of the chase before a relationship. There is room for an unhealthy stalker-ish obsession during the sombre ‘Cornerstone’.
The highlights of the album have to be the lead single ‘Crying Lightning’ which introduced us to the darker side of the Monkeys’ personalities as well as the unbelievably smart ‘Dance Little Liar’ and the heart wrenching ‘Fire and the Thud’.
The View From The Music is….10/10 – The album is wholly brilliant. It introduced us to another side of the band that we have craved ever since. In our opinion it is better than its predecessors and follow up ‘Suck It And See’.
Check out their superb Web Transmission they released prior to the album:
The View From The Music.xx
Image courtesy of www.arcticmonkeys.com