Arctic Monkeys, ‘Crying Lightning’

Arctic Monkeys

They’re men now. They brood. They grow their hair. They sport beards. They make records with ginger gorilla Josh Homme. It’s a patina of manliness, though, with Alex Turner still whippet-thin, still a bit too Sheffield to be proper muscular rock’n’roll. ‘Crying Lightning’ seems a bit deeper, a bit less eager to let go and indulge in childish things, but then Turner goes and ruins it all with a reference to “pick’n’mix”. It doesn’t sound like an honest hiccup of salt-of-the-earthiness. It sounds like a sop to those who suspect they might be about to go all Hollywood. It sounds Peter Kay.

There’s a grower here all the same and a meatiness that neatly disguises the lack of – let’s face it, chaps – a song. They’ve always had that gift. Whether it’ll keep on giving, album after album, well, we’ll see. At least they’re only starting to look like Kings Of Leon, rather than buffing, polishing and dowdying up their music to sound like them too.

Cheerily bursting the Monkeys’ oh-so-serious bubble, Junior giggles at their name. “Is the monkey singing now?” “Do they dress up?” “I liked the first bit but I didn’t like the last bit.” That last remark’s obviously a withering comment on the transience of pop favour. You can search for the pick’n’mix all you like, Alex; it’s gone.

Everybody Wang Chung tonight:

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