Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See - Album Review -
It's been a while since I last did a review, and to get me back into the trend, I have decided to write an review on an album from one of my favourite bands - 'Suck It And See' by 'The Arctic Monkeys'.
Who are 'The Arctic Monkeys'?
For those who aren't aware of who The Arctic Monkeys are - they are a four-peice band consisting of Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Nick O'Malley and Matt Helders. The members of the band hail from Sheffield, England, and have been together as an Alternative/Indie Rock band since 2002, and have released 4 albums, and several EP's. The Arctic Monkeys have became more successful over the years, with their first album 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' being a quadruple platinum album. The Arctic Monkeys are now one of the most successful bands of all time, in fact, they have recently headlined Scotland's biggest music festival - T In The Park last friday night, where they received a positive review of '52/70' in terms of performance.
Suck It And See
'Suck It And See' is the fourth studio album from the band, and is most probably the worst album that they have put together. Even the album's artwork - made noticible by it's baige-coloured cover, with the words 'Suck It And See' written slap-bang in the middle - is very bland. With the 'Arctic Monkeys' being one of my favourite bands, this album came as a great dissapointment, although there are a few decent songs on the album that are typical 'Monkeys tracks, although the majority of them aren't. I shall leave you to have an opinion on the album for yourself's after reading the track by track review -
1. She's Thunderstorms - The first track on the album begins with a rather eery tone, with the guitar's pitch being raised higher and back down again. The vocals enter at about 19 seconds of the song, and to be honest, they aren't extremely convincing - Alex Turner (vocalist/lead guitarist) sounds as if he is recovering from having a bad throat, the vocals sound lower and slightly less careful than the vocals on the 'Arctic Monkeys' last album did. The vocals in the song are hard to be made clear of at certain parts, although the vocals do improve up and till the song reaches 1:58, where the vocals sound slightyl out-of-tune, they do pick up again however. The instrumental input in this track is rather good, with the ending of the song having a fairly convincing guitar-solo and good drum-playing - I would say this is the highlight of the track. It isn't the worst I've heard the 'Monkeys do, as the lyrics (when you can actually understand them) are quite good, as is the instrumental part, although the vocals are most-definately the weak point to the song.
Overall Rating - 6/7/10.
2. Black Treacle - This track starts of with a very simple guitar riff, and the vocals enter at around 5 seconds in to the song. The vocals on this track are of much better quality than 'She's Thunderstorms', as they involve a greater clarity and are sang at a higher volume. The lyrics, much like the rest of the lyrics in the songs on this album, don't make much sense at the start of the song. The opening line is 'Lately I've been seeing things, belly-button piercings, in the sky, at night', which doesn't make any direct relevance. The chorus is very strange - 'the sky looks sticky just like Black Treacle'. The lyrics are very strange, but they make slightly more sense to lyrics on the other tracks. The instrumental part of the song isn't overly impressive, with a fairly simple guitar riff repeated throughout the start of the song, which changes later on as the drums etc, enter. The song sounds like something from the 90's, which isn't a bad thing, except the 'Arctic Monkeys' aren't a 90's band, and they've took a different route with this track, and it doesn't seem to work extremely well. This song isn't one that I've listened to many times, and I don't intend to. It seems like one of those tracks that are just on the album to fill a gap.
Overall Rating - 4/10.
3. Brick By Brick - This happens to be one of my favourites on the album. The lyrics are very simple, and are easy to understand. The opening line (being the chorus) sings 'I wanna build you up, brick by brick, I wanna break you down, brick by brick, I'm gonna re-construct, brick by brick, I wanna feel your love, brick by brick'. To me this is a very simple chorus, but is sang in a different way to the rest of the tracks on the album. This song involves a sort of musical 'Question and Answer' with the vocals, as, for example, when 'I wanna build you up' is sang, the vocals answer with 'brick by brick' in a much lower volume and a more mellow tone-of-voice. This is a rather clever idea within this song - I think that's what makes it stand out. The instrumental side of this track is also extremely well constructed, and there are some impressive riffs, as well as Matt Helder's impressive drum ability. The ending of the song is also very good, and the song goes out with a bang. The music slows down around the 1.35 minute mark, and the vocals are much softer, as is the instrumental. A short pause is given and the instrumental, along with the vocals speed up once again, and make the ending of the song, rather superb. In terms of lyrics, they are very simple, but work well. The vocals aren't bad either, Alex Turner's voice suits this slightly more 'Rocky' style that this song possesses. The chorus is made up cleverly, and the guitar-playing is very well structured, too.
Definately one of the better tracks - 8/10.
4. The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala - This is the second single that the 'Arctic Monkeys' have released from their fourth studio album. Like most of the songs on the album, the track title is very, err .. different. As if the title couldn't be any worse than 'Don't Sit Down Cause' I've Moved Your Chair'. The song starts off with a rather rough-sounding bass guitar sound - it sounds as if the bass guitar is still being tuned even after the song begins. Quickly after this, we hear the drum sticks counting '1 2 3 4', and then comes a soft-sounding riff which carries on until around 23 seconds, and the vocals enter. There seems to be a fair bit happening at the start of the song, and I'm not sure if that's too much of a good idea, it may sound a little cluttered.
5. Don't Sit Down Cause' I've Moved Your Chair - This was the lead single for 'Suck It And See' and I think this song really shows what a wild and whacky album it's going to be. The track starts off with a similar riff to 'She's Thunderstorms' but in a more modulated key. The riff at the start gives the song an eerie feeling early on, but you certainly don't feel 'eerie' throughout the song, you're basically sat thinking 'what the ..' About 7 seconds in to the song, the vocals begin to sing the lyrics 'break a mirror, roll a dice, run with scissors through a chip van fire-fight'. These lyrics make no sense at all - I actually laughed when I heard them first for the first time! About 40 seconds in, the drums and more guitar enter. At first they sound quite clashy, but as the volume of the instruments qeuiten down a little, they sound much more in-sync and well-played. The vocals in this song aren't too bad, much like the instrumental part. The vocals and instrumental aren't the best on the album, but they are better than certain previous tracks. I think the thing that stands out the most in this track is the lyrics - they're absolutely crazy! Overall, this song is one of the better tracks on the album, and the song does get stuck in your head after a while. The lyrics are, uhh .. interesting, and I'm sure they have some meaning, but I just can't figure out what, haha.
Overall Rating - 8/10.
6. Library Pictures - The sixth track on the album starts off in a rather odd fashion. There is a quiet drum beat that goes on for about 5 seconds and the lyrics 'And in a vest' are heard, sang in a very low volume - I don't see the point in the start of the song - Anyway, about 6 seconds in the drums begin to play louder, and the vocals enter in not long after. The lyrics in this song are once again very odd, with one of the lines being 'Library pictures of the quickening canoe, first of it's kind to get to the moon'; very strange! There is a lot of drum-playing in this song, which goes along with it quite well. There are several guitar riffs, which sound a little ear-piercing at points. The vocals aren't too bad on this track either, except towards the start they sound like they've been auto-tuned slightly, or they are aided with some sort of peice of electronic musical equiptment - the vocals also echo slightly at the end of the words in the chorus. The ending of the song has a fast guitar riff which ends the song on a high note. This is the shortest song on the album, being only 2.22 minutes long, and it feels like it's just been placed on the album to fill the time slot.
Not the worst song, just seems like a filler, to be honest.
Overall Rating - 5/10.
7. All My Own Stunts - This song starts off, with a fair bit going on at first. The sound of a guitar being tuned is heard, and about 10 seconds into the song, the guitar begins to play a speedy riff, which gradually gets louder. The vocals on this track aren't overly impressive, they sound rather echoey and there are backing vocals present in certain parts, unless I'm mistaken. The guitar riffs on the song are pretty good - They are about the best thing on the track! The lyrics are more simple on this track, and can be heard with clarity, but to be honest, listening to this track, I never really took notice of the lyrics as the vocals didn't appeal to me. The song slows down towards the end with a good instrumental peice with the vocals singing 'ohhhoohhhhh' over and over again. The instrumental speeds up before the end of the song, with some sounds I haven't heard on the guitar before. There is a silence 10 seconds before the end of the track which is a bit strange, which makes the ending a little more dissapointing after some decent playing.
Not really a track I'm going to listen to much.
Overall Rating - 5/10.
8. Reckless Serenade - This song starts off with a rather odd-sounding bass-guitar riff, which sounds kind of flat. The vocals enter in at about 8 seconds in to the song, with the fire line being 'Topless models' - and who ever said the 'Arctic Monkeys' hadn't matured? The vocals in this song are probably the best part of the song; they are more mellow and sound like they are aiming to be sang properly. The lyrics are also better than other songs such as 'Don't Sit Down Cause' I've Moved Your Chair' and 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala' - they actually make some sense! The main chorus line sings - 'I've been trying to figure out what it is I need, tried to listen to the voice of reason'. There is more meaning to the lyrics in this song, and they can be made sense of, compared to other songs. The instrumental side of the song let's the track down though, up and till about 2 minutes of the song, there is no impressive guitar playing or anything, but when the song reaches just over the 2 minutes mark, there is a fairly good riff, which sounds like a typical 'Monkeys riff. This song is just one of those songs that isn't going to be released as a single, but isn't the worst track on the album. The vocals and lyrics are about the best part to the song. Not a too-bad track.
Overall Rating - 7/10.
9. Piledriver Waltz - This song starts off with a slow, sweet guitar riff, which changes when the vocals enter. A tambourine can also be heard in the background, which is something that I don't think the 'Arctic Monkeys' have used before. The vocals enter about 20 seconds in to the song, and I am impressed with the vocals with this track. They have a more mellow tone to them, and they are much more clear and easy to understand compared to vocals on certain other tracks. When I first read the name 'Pildriver Waltz' I wasn't too sure what the song was going to be about, it's all a little confusing. This songs vocals are actually pretty well put together, although at first I was a little dazed at what some of them were meant to be about, but after listening to the track a few times, you get the jist. There is a line that sings 'You look like you've been for breakfast at the Heartbreak Hotel', a little Elvis Presley reference, which I never thought I'd see the 'Arctic Monkeys' include in one of their songs! The ending to the song is probably the best part of the song, as there is a long musical peice to finish the track off, which last around 50 seconds, and it includes several percussion instruments: drums, tambourine, and something else unless I'm mistaken, along with the lead guitar and bass guitar. The 'Arctic Monkeys' don't usually have big instrumental endings, but the peice at the end of the song works well with the rest of the song, except the final 10 seconds that sounds like a peice of machinery switching off (presumably the Piledriver). This isn't my favourite song on the album, but it has some strong vocals, and some great instrumental playing.
Overall Rating - 8/10.
10. Love Is A Laserquest - This song starts off with a slow, sweet drum-riff until about 14 seconds in to the track where the vocals enter. When I first heard the vocals, I was skeptical about them, however, after listening to the track a few times, I think that the lyrics are actually produced with more care and a more mellow tone, which adds to the romantic ambience that the song is all about (well, the lyrics). The lyrics in this song are very good compared to lyrics on other tracks, they seem to tell a story of love. One line sings 'I'm not being honest, I pretend that you were just some lover'. The lyrics aren't complicated in this song at all, and can be understood when you think about them. This song is probably one of the better tracks on the album, althouh it isn't really typical 'Monkeys style, but I think it works well. There are some pretty slow yet sweet riffs towards the end of the song which work well with the rest of the song and the lyrics.
One of my favourites on the album.
Overall Rating - 8/10.
11. Suck It And See - 'Suck It And See' is the title of the album, as well as this song, so it is expected to be a fairly-decent track, and it almost lives up to expectations. The song starts with the sound of the guitar counting '1 2 3 4' and in comes the vocals early on in to the song. The first line sings 'Your love is like a studded, leather headlock', which makes you think 'What?' (like most lyrics on the albums tracks!). At this point in the album, I'm tired of trying to think what all the lyrics mean, after having very odd lyrics on most of the tracks! The guitar-playing reminds me of that on 'She's Thunderstorms' with the same sort of riff being played. The vocals on this track aren't overly special, but they have good diction and clarity, they aren't too loud however, but the lyrics can be made sense of, well, you can hear them well enough anyway! The end of the song sounds rather old-fashioned - I think the 'Arctic Monkeys' have produced several songs on this album that are sort of old-fashioned sounding, and they work. The ending is a good one, with the guitar-playing becomer calmer as the song fades out. I think this track should be the last one on the album, as it is the title track and has a better ending.
Not a bad track.
Overall Rating - 7/10.
12. That's Where You're Wrong - The last song on the album 'That's Where You're Wrong' is one of the better tracks on the album. The riff of the guitar at the beginning of the song reminds me of something that Blink 182 would play (if you heard the riff you'd understand, haha). It doesn't really sound like something the 'Arctic Monkey's would usually play, but I guess with this album, anything can be expected. The instrumental part of the song is most-probably the highlight, as there is some pretty good guitar-playing, and some pretty good drum-playing, also! Alex Turner's voice reminds me of Liam Gallagher's (Oasis, Beady Eye), most-probably due to his accent. The vocals aren't overly impressive, it seems like because this track is the last one on the album, the vocals don't need to be given much thought, this is what let's the track down. The lyrics are good, and have a catchy chorus, repeating the words 'That's Where You're Wrong' sang in different ways each time. This song actually finishes around 15 seconds before the actual track finishes, which means that the ending to the song is fairly dissapointing, thus meaning that the ending of the album and the album overall is rather dissapointing. Some pretty good instrumental-playing, not the best song on the album though.
Overall Rating - 6/10.
Before writing this review, I was very skeptical about whether I liked the album or not. It definately isn't the best 'Arctic Monkeys' album by far, but after listening to each track a number of times whilst reviewing each of them one by one, I have come to terms that this really isn't a terrible album at all. I did expect more from the 'Monkeys, but considering their last album wasn't much to go by, I guess I didn't expect as much. The 'Arctic Monkeys' have made it as a very big band in the UK and their fourth album isn't really doing them an infinate amount of favours, but I can see now that there are some decent tracks (a few more than I thought there would be) and some pretty impressive instrument-playing! The lyrics on some of the tracks leave you dazed and confused, for example, the lyrics on 'Don't Sit Down Cause' I've Moved Your Chair'. Lyrics on songs such as 'Brick by Brick' are quite simple, but they work well. The lyrics on 'Love Is A Laserquest' are impressive as they tell the story of love from the experience of 'Monkeys frontman - Alex Turner. On the subject of Turner himself, his vocals have changed a lot since the first couple of albums, and even the last 'Arctic Monkeys' album. There are tracks where his voice shows signs of great dexterity, although there are others where the vocals aren't taken with much care. The vocals on the last song sound similar to Liam Gallagher's singing voice (mentioned previously in the review), which isn't a bad thing, but the vocals aren't too similar on each of the tracks. That could be classed as a good thing, however the vocals aren't really proper 'Monkeys vocals and the lyrics won't get stuck in your head as much as previous song-lyrics would. The instrumental side of the album on a whole is impressive. Alex Turner and Jamie Cook's guitar-playing ability is very positive, as is Matt Helder's drum-playing. There are certain tracks such as 'Don't Sit Down Cause' I've Moved Your Chair' where the instrumental makes the song stand out, and there are a couple of others where the instrumental isn't so good, but the vocals stand out slightly more. The 'Monkeys have included some strange-sounding sounds on the album, for example, the opening to 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala', which is rather ear-piercing. The 'Monkeys also introduced the tambourine on 'Piledriver Waltz' which shows that they are experimenting different instruments, as well as lyrics and different vocal tones.
This album seems to have a degree of experimentation involved in it, which hasn't succeeded with every track. Some tracks stand out much better than others, and there are some which you will hardly listen to, but I guess this is usually the case with most albums. I have a feeling that the 'Arctic Monkeys' next album will have a bigger breakthrough than this album. If you are an avid 'Arctic Monkeys' fan like myself, then you will buy the album. You will most probably be slightly dissapointed with the album, but there are tracks you will take a liking too. The choice is yours though.
Place Of Purchase
I purchased my copy of 'Suck It And See' on iTunes for £7.99, which is a little expensive for an album that isn't overly impressive. You can purchase the album in supermarkets, e.g. Asda, Tesco, or shops such as HMV. Play.com and Amazon are also good websites to purchase the album from, for a fair price. I do not reccomend spending anymore than around £6 or £7 on the album as it is not the best album that the 'Arctic Monkeys' have produced.
The album was released in the UK on the 6th of June 2011.
- The full length of the album is 40:09 minutes long.
- The album was recorded from late 2010 - early 2011.
- This is the 4th 'Arctic Monkeys' album.
(c) Jordan2493 - This review may also be listed on other sites under the same name.