These Sheffield lads have always dealt with sex of one kind or another, whether it’s the drunken hook ups of Whatever People Say I Am… or the cold sweat infidelity of Humbug. But never have they made an album as completely about desire – and, while we’re on the subject, as sexy – as AM.
Where previous Arctic Monkeys records sparked, AM is content to smoulder and smoke. From the bass heavy strut of Do I Wanna Know? AM locks into a swaggering groove, diverging briefly for the melancholy ballad, No 1 Party Anthem and the Lou Reed soul of Mad Sounds.
AM manages a neat duality; infused with longing, it’s strangely unromantic. Only one character professes to actually be in love, and our narrator immediately tells her to ‘snap out of it’. The feline Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? is the most successfully seductive song about a failed booty call you can imagine. The most uncomplicated words of devotion AM offers- those of the closing I Wanna Be Yours – belong not to Alex Turner, but punk poet John Cooper Clarke.
Still, the dark, yearning fantasy pervading AM makes it Arctic Monkeys most cohesive record. It’s also their best.
_ CHARLIE LEWIS