Arctic Monkeys Retrospective: ‘Suck It And See’ Review


In anticipation of Arctic Monkeysnew album ‘AM’ (due out 09/09), David Handley continues to look back on the indie heroes’ discography, revisiting their 2011 album ‘Suck It And See’.

2009’s ‘Humbug‘ gave Arctic Monkeys something they hadn’t really received before – criticism. How would they respond? By making the most diverse album of their career so far.

After ‘Humbug‘, Alex Turner released a solo album full of songs that he had written for British indie film Submarine. These songs were nothing like Arctic Monkeys previous tracks; they were acoustic pop songs but they gave a glimpse into a new style of writing from Turner, a style which would follow on into ‘Suck It And See‘.

From the opening guitar riff of ‘She’s Thunderstorms‘, this was still an alternative album but it had a pop edge and was noticeably different in sound from ‘Humbug‘. But even here, there were still tracks to keep the listener guessing, namely ‘Brick By Brick‘ and ‘Don’t Sit Down…‘ which could have come straight from the ‘Humbug‘ sessions.

Americana was really starting to become a major influence on Arctic Monkeys. No longer were they a little band from Sheffield singing about taxi ranks and Tropical Reef. ‘Suck It And See‘ is hugely ambitious and has moments of sheer genius; it shows so many sides of a band who felt free and confident enough to take their music in a multitude of different directions – sometimes simultaneously.

From the fast and loud rocky romp of ‘Don’t Sit Down…‘ to the pure pop magic of ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala‘ to stripped back acoustic numbers, including ‘Love Is A Laserquest‘ which is a real highlight of the album. There are so many different genres and influences here and the way that they blend together so effortlessly is a true testament to a band at the height of their powers.

What’s most striking about this album is Alex Turners’ tone of voice. It was here that it really started to noticeably change on record. Gone was the Sheffield twang of their early work, replaced by a real rock ‘n ‘roll croon, showcased best on ‘Suck It And See‘, the album’s final single.

Unfortunately, this album will not be remembered as one of the major events in their history. That title will be reserved for the real turning points that they have encountered (‘Whatever People Say I Am…‘, ‘Humbug‘ and new album ‘AM‘), but musically it is one of their best moments and helped  free the band even further from the constraints of being the people’s indie band of choice.

Suck It And See‘ is truly a complete album, one that showcases a band who felt secure enough in themselves to completely let loose and explore all avenues to create a record that is ambitious, diverse, catchy and memorable.


David Handley
David Handley is a 26 year old from Wolverhampton. He has blogged for Sabotage Times and Culture / Trash among others and runs a Literature blog for The Express & Star. He is a lyric fan and loves all sorts of music, but will always have a soft spot for early 2000's indie. CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Augustines, THE XX, Blossoms. David can be found at @DavidHandley on twitter or at his blog -

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