★★★☆☆

Arctic Monkeys have definitely come a long way since the early days. From playing in small towns and pubs to selling out arena shows, you can’t deny the success of their previous albums and it’s no wonder Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino has been so highly anticipated.

It’s certainly a bold move by the band to go out of both theirs and their fans comfort zones. Gone are the catchy, indie rock anthems that are cemented in Leadmill’s playlist, replaced by an alternative, chilled out, layered soundscape. To many fans, this will seem like a bitter disappointment. Upon listening to the opening track ‘Star Treatment’ (which sounds like it could’ve been taken straight out of a film noir soundtrack combined with music you’d hear in a lift) you can immediately hear the striking new sound they’ve gone for.

Yes, it is very different, but, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. It’s refreshing to see such a big band have the confidence to make such drastic changes to their sound and make a record that is different to all the other copycat indie rock bands who try to mimic Arctic Monkey’s success. Every band has to progress and change their sound and when you have to follow an album as loved as AM, it’s always going to be impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations.

Although, it’s hard to stifle a groan when reading the questionable song titles and listen to some of the weird lyrics, that in places seem to be trying so hard to be original they lose all sense of meaning and emotional impact. But, if you can look past this the band’s creativity makes this album glisten. From the seductive bass and powerful layered arrangements to Alex’s crooning vocals, you can hear some inventive tracks.

‘Four Out Of Five’ is a track which stands out from the rest. Featuring a heavy bass which begins to build, introducing a soaring guitar rhythm, followed and complemented by the beat from the drums and a catchy refrain “Take it easy for a little while, come and stay with us”. It’s a great demonstration of the band’s new direction rolled into a single track, but you can still hear tinges of their classic style.

Other tracks that are definitely worth listening to are ‘One Point Perspective’, ‘Golden Trunks’, and ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’.

This album is one that grows on you the more you listen to it. Try to look beyond their previous work and see this album for what it is. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely worth listening to whether you’re a fan of Arctic Monkeys or not.

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