Sometimes the bands that at first seem the easiest to pin down end up being the slipperiest. AM, the fifth and latest album by Arctic Monkeys, reminds us that just when we thought we figured out this Sheffield foursome, it jumps out of the box.
Sure the album has the Britpop, post-punk and garage-rock influences boldly introduced by the group's bratty 2006 debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. But it also flaunts plenty of '70s hard rock, boogie rock, blues rock and pub rock strains. Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, ex-Attractions drummer Pete Thomas, and Bill Ryder-Jones, former guitarist of The Coral, all contribute. Its title and vibe inspired by The Velvet Underground's VU, AM has loud, shout-y bits as well as quiet, croon-y parts that bring to mind melodramatic '60s pop crooners. And its bigger beats are also unquestionably inspired by the hip-hop and grime that have been a lyrical inspiration all along.
We've created a playlist that combines all of those sounds and flavors -- both the influences that leader Alex Turner has freely admitted as well as the unspoken ones. Some might be a stretch when taken out of context (Pet Shop Boys? Dizzee Rascal?), but when heard here back-to-back with the band's own tracks, we predict you'll get the connections.