Album Review: Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See

By on Wednesday, 1st June 2011 at 12:00 pm

Words by guest reviewer Matt Abbott of Skint and Demoralised

Before I start this review, let me just get one thing straight: I’ve been a hardcore Arctic Monkeys fan since I first heard their demos back in 2006. They literally changed my life, and their gigs have provided some of my most cherished memories. Alex Turner is a man that I will always admire, and at times I’ve almost been infuriated with envy of his seemingly limitless talents.

So when I came to listen to ‘Suck It and See’, I wanted to like it. I wanted it to win me over in the same way that ‘Humbug’ did, even though I knew it wouldn’t excite and enthrall me in the same way as their debut. Which is why this is so difficult to write. Overall, I would say that this record is inoffensive if uninspiring, and as bland as it is easily listen-able. It’s certainly poppier and more instant than ‘Humbug’, which is what people were crying out for, but in achieving this it’s lost any sense of edginess or depth.

As a lyricist – and somebody who has always been inspired and enamoured by Alex’s words – it’s extremely disappointing.. The majority of the songs are filled with meaningless, pretentious, cliché-ridden babble. I’d say that every track has at least one line that I could single-out as being cringe-worthy, whereas only one-or-two contain lines that manage to redeem the song and grant forgiveness. It would appear that he’s chosen any words he can – and I mean any words – to satisfy his vocal melodies, and whether they carry substance or provoke intrigue is a secondary concern, if any concern at all.

Musically it is underwhelming and bland, although ultimately much easier to swallow than ‘Humbug’ and for this reason I can see it being quite popular. Tracks such as ‘Reckless Serenade’ and ‘Piledriver Waltz’ do manage to raise a smile and certainly merit a few listens – these are the kind of growers that he’s become so brilliant at writing. They’re well-crafted and deserve patience, but again they hardly raise the hairs on the back of your neck in the same way as ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’.

However, it’s tracks such as ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ TGTF single review here) and in particular ‘Brick By Brick’ (watch the video here that genuinely hurt deep down. The latter is quite possibly one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. It sounds as though it was written on the toilet, and wouldn’t go amiss as the B-Side to Ronnie Wood’s latest single. ‘DSDCIMYC’ is a prime example of the tame throwaway bile that is shamelessly derivate of Queens of the Stone Age – a painful hangover from the Homme sessions. Without them, ‘Suck It and See’ could quite easily be his first attempt at a solo LP and would probably be received in a much more positive light.

But the day that Turner counts down from ten to one in one of the verses to his songs is the day that I accept we’ve lost him. Final thoughts? You can do better. Much better.


‘Suck It and See’ drops on 6 June on Domino Records. Matt Abbott is the Yorkshire born and bred singer/lyricist of Skint and Demoralised, whose new album ‘The Sporting Life’ is expected to be released in the UK later this year.

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3 Responses

10:55 am
2nd June 2011

Always sad to see a fan that’s stuck in the past while his favorite band is evolving……….

3:01 am
3rd June 2011

Damn shame that you have zero musical knowledge at all. How’d you get to reviewing anyway? It’s bland, oh yeah because a song full of bad advice, is not humurous and silly and enjoyable, no, no, no, IT’S BLAND. Did you listen to the album at all? Lyrically disappointing, do you not get the metaphor and ironic structures of the lyrics? You see Alex’s lyric are too intelligent for you to even understand. Shame someone has no musical knowledge is making a review. Damn shame.

7:11 pm
19th June 2011

Well I apologise for deeming “You look like you’ve been for breakfast at the Heartbreak Hotel. If you’re gonna try and walk on water, make sure you wear your comfortable shoes” to be a cringe-worthy lyric. I get the metaphor, it’s not that I’m taking the lyrics at face value, and there are quite a few brilliant lines on there. But on a lot of songs (‘Library Pictures’ for example) he’s clearly just written throwaway nonsense.

Now that the dust has settled, I do admit that the last 5 songs are great (particularly ‘That’s Where You’re Wrong’ and ‘Suck It And See’), but I still can’t live with the likes of ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ which isn’t a million miles away from the bland bile thrown out by latter-day Kings of Leon. Oh sorry, am I living in the past by preferring their first few albums as well? Or have I clearly missed the irony and intelligence in ‘Sex On Fire’?

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