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Arctic Monkeys

AM (Domino)

Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Oct. 4, 2013

ACL Music Fest 2013 Friday Reviews

Arctic Monkeys

AM (Domino)

The Arctic Monkeys' creative tailspin of the past five years has validated the proclamation made by the band's 2006 breakthrough: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. The identity crisis reaches a boiling point on AM, with Prince song titles ("R U Mine?"), Black Sabbath scale ("Arabella"), and the gold-ceiling glam of stadium tour mates the Black Keys ("I Want It All"). Yet track for track, the now-L.A.-based quartet's fifth album might be their strongest since 2007 ambulance chaser Favourite Worst Nightmare, due in large part to the lingering shadow of Humbug producer Josh Homme, both literally (in the slinky "Knee Socks") and figuratively (in the staccato stab of "Snap Out of It"). Piano ballad "No. 1 Party Anthem" and "One for the Road," with its falsetto harmony, cement singer/guitarist Alex Turner's transition from post-punk chronicler to heavy-lidded crooner. Instant classic "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High" brings it all together. AM's a heavy seduction, restless and all the better for it. (6:30pm, Samsung Galaxy stage)

***.5

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