Sunday, 1 January 2012
Arctic Monkeys - Black Treacle
The Arctic Monkeys are a band that fall neatly into two distinct phrases - their first two albums and the era where they were the name on everyone's lips, conquering radio playlists everywhere. And then the two following albums where they arguably made the tricky transition to album artists playing to arenas and still notching up those No. 1-in-the-album chart accolades, but with the vigour and vitality of their early days questionably dampened.
At the break of 2012, the band are yet to score a Top 10 hit since 2007's brilliant Flourescent Adolescent, for me, the last time the band really felt 'on-form'. Still, their latter albums have appeased fans and critics alike as they slowly position themselves as one of the UK's premier live acts, a sort of national treasure for the ages. Arctic Monkeys are without a doubt in it for the long haul, but hearing tracks like new single Black Treacle, you find yourself longing for a return to their hook-heavy early days.
Their musicianship is unquestionable and the levels of production quality and maturity of the Suck It And See tracks is probably the greatest the band have ever operated at, but Black Treacle is the sound of a band releasing a song that sounds like it could just as easily be an album filler-track. The Monkey's last two singles failed to even break the Top 100, a sure sign of changing times, and Black Treacle - for all its authentic dad-rock niceties - shows no signs of being able to stop the slide.
A fundamentally changed band - and one that seem to have left their proper hit-making days behind them in favour for a more adult, more stately market.
Black Treacle is released on the 23rd January.