Arctic Monkeys – The Car (Album Review)

Arctic Monkeys – The Car (Album Review)

After the surprising change of style with 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, Arctic Monkeys had many fans curious. Now in 2022, they do it again with another trademark-defying record… the latest effort, The Car. Simply picks up on the styles that its predecessor has dived in, The Car is another homage to a variety of old-school sounds that included Orchestral/Lounge/Baroque Pop with a sprinkle of Funk and Jazz elements.

Released on October 21st, via Domino Recording Company, Alex Turner (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Jamie Cook (guitar, keyboards), Matt Helders (drums, percussion, backing vocals), and Nick O’Malley’s (bass, backing vocals) seventh overall album also drew influences from Soul, Electronic, Glam Rock, Bossa Nova, but also soundtrack/film scores. Consisting of ten songs, it opens with the lead single “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” which is light, jazzy and cinematic… all while exuding echoes of Burt Bacharach and The Walker Brothers. On the other hand, “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am,” is bluesy and funky with strong R&B sensibilities. Imposing, dark, and ominous – owing to its big bass sound -“Sculptures of Anything Goes” is an album highlight both sonically as well as stylistically.

Moving on, with “Jet Skis on the Moat” Arctic Monkeys pull off something that may remind the initiated of The Commodores’ “Easy.” This is while the ensuing “Body Paint” conjures a collage of Prince and Bee Gees in a grainy, black-n-white film set in slow motion. However, the title-track and “Big Ideas” sound like they are part of the soundtrack of an old French Romantic movie.

Furthermore, “Hello You” is larger than life with a big band sound of horns/strings and feels like a nod to the Baroque Pop of Neil Hannon, but also the rest of The Divine Comedy. “Mr. Schwartz,” playing next, is crispy and clear with its Folk-inspired guitar plucks reverberating chillingly. Finally, Arctic Monkeys finish off their new record with “Perfect Sense,” which is worthy of getting included in the soundtrack of a new, retro-stylized James Bond movie.

So many so-called fans have been lamenting the departure of Arctic Monkeys from their typical Indie Rock beginnings. That said, to the open minded and true music connoisseur the evolution of the English band’s music is a cause for celebration thanks to their sonic diversity and stylistic proficiency. Not many young bands could pull that off with pride, confidence, and, of course, skills and a broad set of influences as well as references. For all these reasons and more Cryptic Rock gives The Car 4 out of 5 stars.

Arctic Monkeys – The Car / Domino Recording Company

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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