Arctic Monkeys album wows critics but confounds fans

(L-R) Musicians Nick O'Malley, Jamie Cook, Alex Turner, and Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys attend The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California
AFP

London (AFP) – British band Arctic Monkeys released their first album in five years on Friday, with critics praising their risky style as fans blasted them for abandoning their rock roots.

“Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” is the sixth studio album from the Sheffield ensemble formerly known for their fast paced guitar rhythms.

“It’s wilfully uncommercial but this surreal, bizarrely seductive album is a showcase for Alex Turner’s astonishing lyrical talent,” read a review in The Times, referring to the group’s frontman who swapped the guitar for a piano on the LP.

Music publication NME called it the “Pet Sounds” moment of the band — referring to the landmark 1966 Beach Boys album which heralded a change in style for the Californian band.

“The album’s title is a fitting one: this record feels a lot like gazing into the night sky. At first it’s completely overwhelming… but when the constellations show through, you’ll realise that it’s a product of searingly intelligent design.”

Online paper The Independent concluded the band are “light years” away from their earlier work. “And it’s a good thing,” critic Jacob Stolworthy said.

Meanwhile fan feedback has been mixed. Some have mocked the band for their new meandering lyrics, which contrast starkly to the down-to-earth odes to youthful romances and nights out which defined their early work.

“Good Morning. Cheeseburger,” from the song She Looks Like Fun was among the lyrics singled out.

“Arctic Monkeys took five years to release a David Bowie tribute album,” said Twitter user @othemightyi.

“Just listened to Arctic Monkeys new album, I respect them and that but that album should be cremated,” said user @Mrthomastrainer.

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