Here it is. The most anticipated British release of the year is finally with us, but which route have the Arctic Monkeys gone down? Back to the scally, beer-drinking wit that made them so loved way back in 2006? Or are they doing an 'Angles' on us and trying out a new-fangled sound - too beaten round the block to care about reviews anyways.
Well, those cheeky Monkeys have done something completely different. (Did we really expect anything less?) The humour and unrivalled lyrics are still there: 'In an unusual place, when you're feeling far away, she does what the night does to the day' on opener 'She's Thunderstorms', and 'I don't mean to rain on anybody's cabriolet' on 'Black Treacle', but there's a definite delicacy to the beginning of 'Suck it and See' that we've never really seen from the Arctic Monkeys. The two opening tracks don't have quite the same smash-you-in-the-face intent that third record 'Humbug' possessed. 'Black Treacle' is layered in subtlety, but is it second track worthy? Perhaps not.
The 1960s Scott Walker influence has followed frontman Alex Turner from his side project The Last Shadow Puppets on to the opening tracks of the fourth record. Even by the first rock track proper, 'Brick by Brick', the sound is more an infectious Beatles psychedelia than anything their contemporaries are doing. This is a lighter, happier band returning from that Josh Homme-whiskey drinking desert in 2009, eyes blinded by sunlight – there's even 'shalalas' on 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalala'. Shalalas? What would Mr Queens of the Stone Age say?
'Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair' is quite possibly the Arctic Monkeys at their finest. Dark, grizzly and downright dirty. Turns out Homme's desert sessions may have done some of its own following of the Sheffield lads to this record. 'Library Pictures' is another contender for album highlight. Although the majority of 'Suck it and See''s subtlety may not be designed for performing live, it sure gets better and better with every listen.
'Reckless Serenade' is the foursome at their most mature. 'I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is I need. Called up to listen to the voice of reason, and got his answering machine. I left my message, but did he fuck get back to me.' After the slowed down start and dynamite middle, Arctic Monkeys were never going to do anything predictable, but little did we see the end of 'Suck it and See' coming. 'Piledriver Waltz', 'Love is a Laserquest' and album closer 'That's Where You're Wrong' bring out the boys, nay mens, grown-up side. And it doesn't sound like a beer guzzling, effing and blindin, ladish Oasis – it sounds like a gorgeous, intelligent Pulp, with a little of The Cure mixed in. Who would have thought it? Those cheeky chaps who soundtracked the late 2000s with tales of San Francisco and looking good on the dancefloor are all grown up. Quick, someone buy a hat.