May the 11th marked a big day for Indie Rock fans all around the globe, with Arctic Monkeys new album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’ being released – the sixth studio album, filled with very high expectations after the great success of 2013’s AM, which skyrocketed to number one in the worldwide album charts.
AM brought a new wave of worldwide fans eager to have a taste of the Sheffield experience, with their catchy riffs and poignant vocals. 2018 looked like it would deliver another dosage of high quality of the most renown British rock band of the 21st century.
However, it was soon announced by Alex Turner (lead singer of the band) that this album would be different. It would be a ‘concept album’ focused on stories focused around a hotel based upon the moon. A completely contrasting idea to previous albums which orbited around anecdotes from Alex’s past. This radical change proved not to stop eager Arctic Monkeys fans from selling out gigs in seconds all over Great Britain including a monumental 6-night stay in the 02 Arena in London.
The moment the album was released to the world, fans flocked to listen, only to find a U-Turn in the music. Instead of the raw singing and intoxicating guitar riffs, they were met with spacey vocals and keyboards, in their slowest album to date. This caused a divide in the flanks of the fan-base some stating it’s a ‘bold new masterpiece’, others bluntly calling it ‘horrendous’.
While I believe the latter is harsh, I’m far from calling it a masterpiece. I can appreciate that Turner is 32 and doesn’t want to be writing songs about running around Sheffield getting drunk on WKD, but still it just all seems underwhelming. Its missing the heart and passion of the previous albums and just seems empty of previous notorious features that made the band so iconic. Every track seems to be filled with the same Bowie-esque hooks, with Turner using the reverb tool on max to the effect of sometimes overwhelming musical chaos. The album however does prove to have some great moments and songs, like the powerful electric guitar in ‘One Point Perspective’, ‘Golden Trunks’ and ‘She Looks Like Fun’, the whole of ‘4 out of 5’ was also a treat to listen too, even if the outro was long-winded. The sound altogether is intriguing and proves alluring, but I think this effect is only apparent when you listen to the whole album together, rather than the songs individually the meaning behind them is lost and as Turner said ‘They’re too clever for their own good’.
Overall, Tranquility Base has proved to be a message to the world that the Arctic Monkeys has moved on from the raw and messy style of rock that threw them to fame with the fastest ever debut album ‘Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not’ and transformed into a much more classy and professional band. The album as a ‘concept’ and succeeds in being this futuristic mellow sound, however lacks the feel of the Arctic Monkeys, it seems like they want to tell the world that they have moved on from the expected preamble of sound and want to produce different music from the days touring pubs in Sheffield, and focus on music that they want to play. Fans will just have to live with this change for the foreseeable future and learn to appreciate the new direction, especially with the sold-out tour just around the corner.
By Harris Morris