Single Review: Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning

By on Thursday, 9th July 2009 at 12:00 pm

Arctic Monkeys (side)Arctic Monkeys come back is always going to be big news. Monday saw the first play of ‘Crying Lightning’ – the debut single from the band’s upcoming third album, ‘Humbug’. The record – which is set to be released in August – was produced by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. Judging by the album’s debut single (which TGTF is ganna be checking out today), Homme’s dark, sultry influence on ‘Humbug’ is clear from the outset.

I must admit, however, on first listen, I was very unimpressed by ‘Crying Lightning’. It sounded like a mere filler from the band’s second album, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ – the chorus hooks initially appearing repetitive and dull. However, a few listens later, and I certainly take my original negative comments back. In fact, I really underestimated ‘Crying Lightning’ as a whole. The track is certainly a grower, and it grows good.

‘Crying Lightning’ ultimately kicks off with a dark, bass-led riff, as Matt Helders simultaneously thrashes down heavily upon his cymbals. Alex Turner then starts to sing melancholy over the similarly depressing sounding melody, at the same time maintaining his famously cheeky lyrical style (“And my thoughts got rude, as you talked and chewed, on the last of your pick n mix”). Sixties psych riffs begin to pelt in all directions, giving the track a real eerie, freakbeat sound, before the dark, stomping percussion slowly leads us into the the calls of “And I loved that little game you had called, crying lightning”. From here on, the track gets a little louder and a little more speedier, alas echoing more vintage sounding Monkeys. Just over mid-way through the track we’re treated to a Dracula-stylee horror riff before brewing military percussion dims quietly back to Alex Turner sniggering “And your past times, consisted of the strange, twisted and deranged”. Finally, the track explodes back into the wild cymbal crashes and wavey guitars of the now in-set chorus, ending “Crying Lightning” on an excitable and energetic note.

Indeed, the track in general is pretty complex, and is certainly a fair distance from the ol’ “what a scummy man” 2006-era Monkeys. Still, we gotta remember that said jolly, sing-along indie made Arctic Monkeys what they are today, so what fans will think of the band’s new, much darker material – we shall just have to wait and see…

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6 Responses

5:53 pm
9th July 2009

Nice review. Im enjoying the single as well! Can’t wait for “Humbug”.

12:24 am
10th July 2009

another great article mate, have linked yer site. I never even mentioned the josh homme thing – which is odd, Songs for the Deaf is a favourite album of mine.

I enjoy your posts a lot though, and look forward to catching them. Despite your Panics review lol.


7:57 am
15th July 2009

as a massive fan of the band, i really appreciated this review. i had heard the single once, and was very disapointed. but you have inspired me to listen to it a couple of times, and it is deffintly growing on me, which is awesome. i was getting worried that my AM obsession was coming to a close! thanx heaps

12:56 pm
16th July 2009

That’s great, Becca. I’m glad the review inspired you. I think loads of people were like “Hmm” when they first heard it. But after a few listens, everyone is now like “OH WOW! This is actually really awesome!”. Hehehehe.

11:03 pm
23rd July 2009

Awesome on first listen still awesome now, love the Arctics great band

[…] Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning (read Jess’ review) […]

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