Feature

Arctic Monkeys: Humbug

Artic Monkeys has come away from their stay in the Mojave Desert with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme with a new sound. 

(Domino)

**

Arctic Monkeys abandon their roots on their third album, said Sean Fennessey in Spin. Taking a “decidedly different direction” on Humbug, the Sheffield lads leave behind England—as well as the “jagged, ramshackle guitar rock and devilishly detailed observations” that made them a sensation. Having spent months in the Mojave Desert with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, the group has emerged within a haze of dour sludge-rock. While the lads deserve credit for trying to evolve, they come close to jettisoning what made them great, said Alexis Petridis in the London Guardian. Alex Butler’s biting lyrics, once a driving force, are often drowned in the sonic mire. “There’s not much of a tune” to songs like “Dance Little Liar,” which gets swept away in atmospherics. But the band occasionally gets it right. “Cornerstone” is a “witty, poignant evocation of lost love” and “Secret Door” is a wry observation of celebrity. Arctic Monkeys need to churn out more like these to get back on track.

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