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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Arctic Monkeys’ new album is an unforgettable ride

Courtesy of Sxanthony via Wikimedia Commons
Alex Turner of the English Arctic Monkeys rocks out on stage.

Alex Turner and crew have hit the ground – or rather the road – running with their latest full-length release entitled “The Car.”

Clocking in at just over 37 minutes and composed of 10 dreamy tracks, “The Car” is a comfortable listen.

The Oct. 21 release expands upon a new path for the band. The album’s artwork shows a lonesome white sedan sitting on top of a parking garage, surrounded by tire marks, provoking a curiosity as to how those chaotic lines got there.

The Arctic Monkeys are no strangers to changing things up. The group is a garage rock powerhouse, boasting albums like their debut “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” 2007’s “Favourite Worst Nightmare” and 2013’s beast, “AM.” Their last studio release, 2018’s spacey “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino,” marked a departure from their typical gritty sound.

A sense of enigma is the hallmark of this new work. The lead single, “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” opens the album with a soft snare and keyboard combination that sets a smooth foundation for frontman Turner’s even sweeter vocals. It’s a jazz number that swells into a string arrangement that is simply breathtaking.

“I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am” is a funky change of pace, but sticks with a string arrangement. “Sculptures of Anything Goes” takes on a more ominous tone, with gritty, reverbed percussion underneath driving synths and Turner’s build up to a falsetto.

“Jet Skis On The Moat” implores the listener, “is there something on your mind, or are you just happy to sit there and watch while the paint job dries?” It’s a thought-provoking question that gives even the casual listener a pause.

The second single, “Body Paint” is a longer track at almost five minutes, but with a tempo change midway through, it’s not a bloated one. Turner can be heard singing a melody that hearken back to “No. 1 Party Anthem,” found on AM. It’s a nostalgic homage to the almost decade-old masterpiece that gave us fan favorites “Do I Wanna Know?” and “I Wanna Be Yours.”

The title track is an acoustic, softer piece with a circular guitar-plucking melody combined with yet another string arrangement that brings a tear to the eye. The bridge, however, gives a quick taste of an electric, noisy guitar – a rare find on the record.

“Mr. Schwartz” follows suit with its gentle acoustic guitar, whereas “Big Ideas” focuses more on keyboards, with a stair-step rhythm found in the bridge and cruises into an infectious electric guitar outro solo that is unexpected, yet not jarring.

“Hello You” teases the end of the album with crescendoing strings, creating a build-up that takes us into the boastful percussion and string combination that is “Perfect Sense.”

The lyrics throughout the work are intriguing and frequently ambiguous. That’s part of the magic of the group’s seventh studio release. Turner’s songwriting abilities are on vibrant show here, and the band’s chemistry is unmistakable, as they bring each element together so tactfully.

“The Car” is an album that is lush with strings, keyboards and vocal harmonies that complement the arrangements with razor-thin precision. It’s a sonic sensation that is perfect for a sit-down listen, or a late-night car ride, fitting aptly with the album’s title.

The Arctic Monkeys continue to excite, this time with a mellow, introspective album that is a memorable listen.

Follow Ashley on Twitter @ashleyness2000

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About the Contributor
Ashley Ness, Opinion Editor | she/her
Ashley is a senior from Jacksonville, Florida. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in women’s and gender studies. In her free time, she enjoys going to record stores, collecting funky socks, and playing solitaire. You can also catch her cracking puns. Ashley plans to become a mental health counselor one day.

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Arctic Monkeys’ new album is an unforgettable ride