An album titled Suck It And See is designed to be noticed. It’s this kind of snarky, brash wording that has become a trademark of Arctic Monkeys, whose 2006 debut was titled Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. But sass isn’t the only thing going on for this British indie rock band. On its fourth LP, Arctic Monkeys combines its clever, tongue-in-cheek wordplay with a wider variety of sounds than it ever used on its other releases.
The opening track, “She’s Thunderstorms,” is a smooth but dramatic initiation and perhaps the best track on the album. Silence is broken by a lone guitar riff, simple but persistent as it echoes around the room. After a few solitary measures, more guitar rolls in to bolster the brave beat, followed by the surprisingly sweet croon of vocalist Alex Turner. A rumbling, fervent drumbeat announces the chorus, a crescendo of instrumentals, with Turner’s lyrics floating above it all.
“Black Treacle,” a sugary pop number, follows. This track features a combo of upbeat catchiness and playful lyrics that resembles the band’s much beloved older material. Runoff from its noticeably darker 2009 release, Humbug, can be found toward the center of the album. Suck It breaks into this tough core with “Brick By Brick,” publicly released in early March. A dirty rock ‘n’ roll vibe is amplified by bold riffs and raw but slow, simple, drawn-out guitar solos.
“Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” is a standout constituent within these heavier numbers. A foreboding guitar sequence opens as Turner’s voice trails off menacingly, “Go in business with a grizzly bear.” This leads into some seriously heavy instrumentals. “Library Pictures” follows with filtered and fuzzy, controlled chaos. Arctic Monkeys slows things down toward the close of the album with tracks like the sweetly sad “Love Is A Laserquest.” Look to the first half to get your instrumental punches, though Turner is still giving you some attitude in the end. “That’s not a skirt, girl/That’s a sawed-off shotgun/And I can only hope you’ve got it aimed at me,” he warbles on the title track.