Arctic Monkeys: Humbug

What the hell is this? With their first two releases, the Arctic Monkeys proved themselves to be one of the most energetic, exciting and fast-paced bands to come out of the UK’s otherwise derivative post-punk scene. Now they’ve recruited stoner metal pioneer Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal) as producer for Humbug, a radical depature, both in style and quality from their first two albums, and everything’s just gone to hell. This is the Arctic Monkeys trying their hand in modern metal, and while they never fall flat on their faces, it’s far from a success. The frantic beats and thrashing guitars of “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and “Brianstorm” are long gone, instead replaced with plodding and droning beats and simplistic riffs on forgettable, hookless tracks like “Dance Little Liar” and “Fire and the Thud.” “Crying Lightning,” the lead single off the album, is as close as the group gets to their old sound, and is one of the album’s memorable tracks. It takes guts to try something new and try and branch out to another genre, so the band gets points for that. If Humbug is an experiment it’s an ambitious one, but still a massive failure and tremendous disappointment from a band that should have known better. (Domino 2009)

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