CD Review: Suck It and See [2011]


Band:
 Arctic Monkeys
Release: 6/2011
Label: Domino Records

1. “She’s Thunderstorms” – A
2. “Black Treacle” – A
3. “Brick By Brick” – B+
4. “The Hellcat Spangled Shalala” – A-
5. “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” – B+
6. “Library Pictures” – A-
7. “All My Own Stunts” – B
8. “Reckless Serenade” – A+
9. “Piledriver Waltz” – A-
10. “Love Is A Laserquest” – A-
11. “Suck It and See” – A-
12. “That’s Where You’re Wrong” – A

Comments: The Arctic Monkeys emerged out of nowhere in 2006 with the release of their debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Shortly thereafter the band became international sensations of sorts. This isn’t to say that they didn’t have to cover a shit load of ground in their native UK before attaining such a status. Somewhere along the line, they got recognized and quite deservingly so. It’s not so often a group of 20 year olds can so finely construct rock n roll gems. I remember checking them out for the first time on YouTube, a relatively new website at the time. I wasn’t blown away, but I liked what I heard. Five years and three records later, the band, led by principal songwriter Alex Turner, still has ‘it’. Turner’s voice is distinctive and aside from his signature vocals, the band ain’t all that different stacked next to their pop sensible “post”-punk revival contemporaries. The Arctics flirt with many a styling on Suck It and See: the soft verse/extremely catchy chorus Humbug-esque “She’s Thunderstorms,” the slow and thoughtful on “Piledriver” and “Love Is,” top notch power pop on “Black Treacle,”the guitar-driven psychedelic “Brick By Brick” and “Don’t Sit Down,” and so on and so forth. “The Hellcat” is reverb drenched with a fitting bass line included. We’ve heard about dancing shoes and the like before from these folks and we hear about ’em again on “All My Own Stunts.” That’s a good song, perhaps one of the only to not stick out too much. That’s all right, because what follows — “Reckless Serenade” — is Arctic Monkeys at their best. The bass, rhythm, and lead are all outstanding. Sometimes Alex is quite fancy with his lyrical content, but this one is fairly easy to comprehend. Humorous from the start, “Topless models…” There might be some Side A people, some Side B people. Side A people want to rock and roll. Side B just want to sit down and have some light music playing. Or maybe after rocking and rolling to Side A you’ll get tired and just toss on B as a way to rest. Either way, this is a truly enjoyable record, with a load of memorable songs. Great summer record player listening.

Grade: A- (91)


 

Glen’s Best/Worst of 2010: Record Labels

Congratulations to Matador Records for taking the cake in this one. The three Matador/True Panther albums that I noted below were securely in my Top 10 Albums of 2010 list. So, good job, Matador! Keep it up and here’s to 21 more years! Sub Pop and Fat Possum, two other large independent labels, put out some great records as well. On the smaller scale, Goner Records, based in Memphis, released a handful (probably even more) of quality records and I can only guess that 2011 will be another great year for that label and store. Burger Records, which has garnered national attention for its release of cassettes, is small as well, but their devotion to music and the bands that they put out is overwhelmingly large. As far as “better luck next year” labels go, we’ve got In The Red. In The Red has been a consistent favorite for me, but nothing that they put out this year really floored me. It was a bit of an off-year for Domino Records as well. Of course, that can go out without saying the year after releasing two stellar records, Merriweather Post Pavilion [Animal Collective] and Humbug [Arctic Monkeys]. EMI did pretty awful, but that’s expected too…it is a major label after all. Warner Brothers was a mixed bag; Devo’s LP was pretty good, but nothing else really tickled my fancy. I know a lot of people were feeling Dr. Dog and the Black Keys (especially) this year. 

Top 5!
1. Matador/True Panther Records – Notable Releases: Hippies [Harlem], Gay Singles [Hunx & His Punx], Memphis [Magic Kids]
2. Sub Pop – Notable Releases: Teen Dream [Beach House], I Will Be [Dum Dum Girls], Everything In Between [No Age]
3. Fat Possum Records – Notable Releases: King of the Beach [Wavves], Lisbon [Walkmen]
4. Goner Records – Notable Releases: First Blood [Nobunny], Melted [Ty Segall]
5. Burger RecordsNotable Releases: Cum Stain [Cum Stain], Shame, Shame [APACHE]

Worst!
1. EMI – Un-notable Releases: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky [OK GO], Sea of Cowards [Massive Attack]
2. Domino – Un-notable Releases: There Is Love In You [Four Tet], Hidden [These New Puritans]