Arctic Monkeys have returned from outer space and have come back to earth with their seventh studio album
Arctic Monkeys seventh studio album, eloquently titled ‘The Car’ has been sitting in fans’ playlists and record collections for several days now. Its release has been highly anticipated, as is often the case with any new music from Sheffield’s finest usually as a result of the long wait between albums we are given.
After jetting off into outer space with ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’, AM returned to earth with this new album, more specifically they’ve come back to bring their own take on sitting in a quiet bar sipping a martini with only your own thoughts of mortality for company.
The progression we’ve seen from the band since the 2013 release AM has been dramatic and not to everyone’s taste, but both TBH&C and now The Car have taken the band on a diagonal step forward from music they created a decade or more ago.
‘The Car’ opens with two tracks released as singles in the build up to October 21. ‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’ is a crackling fire of a track, in that it takes the listener on a journey and then slowly fades to a satisfying conclusion. ‘I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am’ is a jazzy, funky addition to the record and gives Alex Turner the chance to flex his full focal range.
I’m not a huge fan of ‘Sculptures of Everything Goes’ but admittedly it does have some great periods of musical tones which have a certain and looming undertone. We are gradually built up towards a crescendo which lasts almost four fun-filled minutes.
‘Jet-skis on the Moat’ is another funky, bass guitar heavy track which has a gentle, swaying effect on the listener. It also makes you think of just how interesting a day out on jet-skis with the Arctic Monkeys would be- it gets you thinking, that’s for sure.
The title track of the album gives the piano a prominent role as Turner sings of the wonders of grabbing something from the car and paying a visit to a cafe where you can enjoy a meal with the English. Perhaps him talking about the American influence that has rubbed off on AM music over the past decade?
For me, ‘Big Ideas’ is the song from the album which most resembles something from TBH&C. It has that real lounge-like vibe to it, and gives Turner the chance to capture that sound from the 2018 record. “I had big ideas, the band were so excited. The kind you’d rather not share over the phone.” could very well sum up the last 6/7 years within the Arctic Monkeys bubble.
Next up is ‘Hello You’ which has a fresh injection of energy and a tempo which isn’t forthcoming in many other tracks on the album. The peppy sound is neatly woven in to the fabric of the album, and signals the start of another slower selection of songs that draw the record to a tidy conclusion.
‘Mr Schwartz is the penultimate track of the record and has a twinkling guitar sound which is a constant throughout. Turner sings about the dancing shoes of this mystery man, although I somehow think his type of dancing is far different to the moves encouraged in that well known AM track of yesteryear.
The album is tied up in a lovely bow with ‘Perfect Sense’, a cool and collected track which incorporates the more delicate aspects of the new age of AM. The final stretch of a race is sung about by Turner, and it is on the final stretch of the record we have this song.
‘The Car’ is the second instalment of this new era for Arctic Monkeys and it is a seemingly natural next step on from TBH&C. In 2022 the band mark the 20th anniversary of their formation and in that time they’ve gone from telling tales of drunken taxi journeys through Sheffield to now deeper, almost philosophical trips.
The evolution of Arctic Monkeys will be by no means every fan’s cup of tea but at the end of the day those out there who want to listen to the likes of ‘Humbug’ and ‘Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not’ can do so because the band have created these albums. There’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the early records and saying that you don’t like the new stuff.
But the direction the band has taken feels as though it is through any experimental phase. This is what Arctic Monkeys are now, what they bring to their new music and how they will perform on their next tour. It’s exciting and different, and will surely grow on many fans who are doubtful of this new era.