the gang goes across the pond …
U.K. indie darlings Arctic Monkeys have always delighted the music media with their blend of ‘cross the pond rock ‘n’ roll. This summer they have returned to the airwaves; dropping their latest single, ‘Do I Wanna Know.’ The song is the lead track off their upcoming September release, AM. Pop-Break’s music editor, Jason Stives, a devout fan of the band, served this song up to the Singles Party to sink their critical teeth into.
Nick Porcaro: The latest single from Brit rockers Arctic Monkeys is one of those songs. Yeah, you know the type I’m talking about. The song you put on at a party just when shit starts to get real. The type of song that creeps up on you unexpectedly until, before you know it, you’re a few too many drinks in and dancing suggestively with that girl (or guy) you fancied all night from across the room. I haven’t followed the band in quite some time, so it must be said I was impressed at their use of restraint and dynamics. Stupidly simple drumming, infectious guitar riffs and surprisingly slinky vocals from once-rambunctious frontman Alex Turner come together in a satisfying and effortless fashion. Hats off to the Monkeys. Verdict: Add to playlist.
Jason Kundrath: Forever changed by their work with QOTSA mastermind Josh Homme, the Monkeys deliver a fresh single infused with a dark sexiness that is somehow darker and sexier than anything the Queens have ever done. In fact, if this had be the new QOTSA single, I would have been thrilled. (As it stands, I’m still on the fence about their big return.) But the biggest thing the Monkeys have over the Queens, however, is the brilliant frontman Alex Turner whose lyrics and delivery pull you in close and don’t let up till the final note. The riff here is a huge, sweeping, melodic thing, the likes of which haven’t been heard for a long time. The rest of the song marches along to a restrained, steady beat that broods with a simmering tension. And Turner’s touch of falsetto on the hook’s titular line beautifully cuts through that tension. But only for one sweet moment. Great stuff. Verdict: Add to the playlist.
Lauren Stern: It’s been quite a few years since we last heard from the Arctic Monkeys and to hear their latest single “Do I Wanna Know?” is refreshing. I’ve always been a fan of the Monkeys and are amazed every time they come out with a new album. They are one of those bands that manages to create completely infectious tunes this one does not disappoint in that regard. I’m excited to hear most of their next album, which supposedly due sometime in the next few months. Verdict: Add to Playlist
Jason Stives: I’ve been asked numerous times why Arctic Monkeys quickly became my favorite band and the answer is simple: they evolve. Unlike some bands who keep status quo with the stuff that made them the most successful for years and years; the Sheffield quartet has never settled on one style since they debuted with a bang in 2006. No longer bratty teens crawling the U.K. club scene with scrappy indie rock; the band is nearing their 30s and have embraced a sound that some call stoner rock but I simply call rock ‘n’ roll. No imagery of bong hits in a high school parking lot just fuzzy guitar work, punctual drum beats and singer Alex Turner’s signature wordplay mixed with his aging crooner-esque voice.
“Do I Wanna Know?” the first single from their recently announced fifth album, AM, follows much the style they invoked with their 2012 Record Store Day release “R U Mine?” bagging a hip swaying, air guitar playing sound that while simplistic and borderline primative still feels incredibly distinct and original. The ghoulish harmonizing, the way Turner still bleeds a cockney accent through a rather American hard rock based style of songwriting fits well together. It’s a far more suitable first single for what should be a very rock oriented record and one that really bares repeating. Verdict: Add to Playlist
Bill Bodkin: Confession time … I have never heard an Arctic Monkeys song (that I can remember) before. I frankly did not care about the band at all. Why? ‘Cause they were one of those bands that the critics seemed to gush over to the point of absurdity. I figured this was another Brit-import that was going to get the obligatory “Next Beatles?” tag and then within a hot minute they’d be done. As per usual, I was quite wrong. Listening to “Do I Wanna Know?” was an awesome audio experience. It’s this slow-building, sexy, fuzzed out piece of rock ‘n’ roll goodness. In essence, everything that’s missing from mainstream rock music today. Thus, I have added this track to my own playlist and have begun the process of diving into the band’s catalog to see what I’ve missed out on. Verdict: Add to the Playlist.
Final Verdict: It’s absolutely unanimous — we are all in on the new hotness from Arctic Monkeys.