ACL Music Fest Sunday Reviews

CD/DVD

ACL Music Fest Sunday Reviews

Arctic Monkeys

Humbug (Domino)

Arctic Monkeys

At the Apollo (Warner Bros.)

The Timbaland effect: when a producer shapes the sound of an album in his or her image. That's clearly the case for the Arctic Monkeys' third LP, helmed at Joshua Tree by Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme. For the most part it works. Humbug is a dark seduction, replacing the Sheffield quartet's Gang of Four intensity and astute character sketches with denser grooves and heavy double entendres. Slow, strutting opener "My Propeller" marries spaghetti western guitar with QOTSA's Lullabies to Paralyze, not unlike the sexy seesaw of "Potion Approaching" and upbeat "Pretty Visitors," both laced with Homme's heavy breathing. "Secret Door" and "Cornerstone" tread closer to Alex Turner's Last Shadow Puppets with electric 1960s pop flourishes. The contrast couldn't be more apparent in the new Arctic Monkeys At the Apollo DVD, taken from the tail end of a 2007 European tour. Director Richard Ayoade's patient, cinematic approach eloquently captures the full force of the band's jagged precision and feverish energy – particularly that of drummer Matt Helders – opening with a riveting trifecta from Favourite Worst Nightmare and never looking back. Of particular local interest is the Live in Texas CD paired with the DVD. Recorded at a sold-out Stubb's in July 2006, mere months removed from their breakout at South by Southwest, the electricity is Beatlemania, the Monkeys tearing through their debut Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not in just under 40 minutes. "We'll have to do this again sometime," Turner concludes before the encore, "except we'll have another album, and then we can play for a bit longer – fireworks and shit." Cheers to that. (4pm, AMD stage.) (Both) ***

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