THE NEW ARCTIC MONKEYS album – the Sheffield group’s fifth – is streaming on iTunes in its entirety. And you can hear it all for free – presuming, that is, that you have iTunes 11. (It’s taken the MOJO office a frustrating couple of days to work out why we couldn’t access it, but that’s enough about us and our IT problems…) Perhaps unsurprisingly, AM in toto reveals itself much as Arctic Monkeys bossman Alex Turner described in the latest MOJO magazine – as flowing out from the track R U Mine? and its canny meld of hard rock and 21st Century R&B vibes.
“R U Mine? was a ray of light moment,” Turner told MOJO’s Keith Cameron. “I wanted to do these meandering melodies that don’t repeat, like contemporary R&B.”
The group’s recent proximity to the Black Keys – with whom they toured extensively last year – looks like being another factor, and there are numerous moments (and not just Do I Wanna Know?) when you’re minded of the Akron duo’s globe-bothering breakthrough albums, Brothers and El Camino.
“That hip-hop influence, one way or another, has been there throughout, but this time it’s more on the sleeve,” says Turner. “It took a lot of experimenting to find which elements from each world to take. You can’t just slosh them together.”
“I wanted to do these meandering melodies that don’t repeat, like contemporary R&B.”
Turner refuses to shed light on the hand injury sustained by Matt Helders during the LA recording sessions, but enthuses about the drummer’s surprise temporary replacement, the legendary Pete Thomas from Elvis Costello’s Attractions.
“I know Pete through his daughter, Tennessee,” Turner explains. “Pete hung out for a couple of weeks and helped us bash these tunes around. And one of them was the germ of Snap Out Of It. If it weren’t for his enthusiasm, that tune would have got binned off.”
To assess for yourselves if Thomas’s enthusiasm was justified, stream AM here. The full Alex Turner interview, plus Keith Cameron’s in-depth review of the album can be read in the current MOJO magazine.