Two years have passed since the Arctic Monkeys’ sophomore disc Favourite Worst Nightmare, so was Humbug worth the wait? On the first listen, it seems layered, structured, safe...mature. Happens to the best of us. Or perhaps that was the hand of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal), who the Monkeys employed for much of the production.

But listen again, beyond the indulgent, cheeky lyrics and cocky English attitude and there are some killer tunes. "My Propeller" and "Crying Lightning" are radio-friendly, but also lyrically poetic ("Your pastimes consisted of the strange, twisted, and deranged"), while "Pretty Visitors" might just be their finest song to date, with a frenetic drum-driven verse spilling into a chanting chorus with organ.

Humbug doesn’t match the edge of their first album. That punk-tinged frantic pace has given way to a slower, more methodic approach, but the Arctic Monkeys’ clever lyrics and engaging melodies make it a worthy listen. It’s a solid 7 out of 10.

Album title: Humbug
Artist: Arctic Monkeys
Label: Domino
Songs: (1) My Propeller (2) Crying Lightning (3) Dangerous Animals (4) Secret Door (5) Potion Approaching (6) Fire And The Thud (7) Cornerstone (8) Dance Little Liar (9) Pretty Visitors (10) The Jeweler's Hands


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