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on 26 August 2009
I'm dismayed about the number of negative reviews for this album. Personally I think this is their best album to date. I agree it has not got the instant pop rock feel of 'Whatever...' but it has a far more complex layered sound that takes repeated listens to really appreciate. We have become far too dependent on the instant gratification that pop records provide: the sugar rush. However, instant short term pleasure often leads to long term disappointment. Give this album time and reap the reward of dark, subtle and brooding classic.
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on 15 September 2009
This time around the Monkeys have decided not to try and make `What Ever People Say I am...' again. That was an album that a band gets to make once and it should be left at that. The decision then to work with Josh Homme and James Ford was a very good idea. From the start you can see the results. `My Propeller' is dark and moody with subtle menace. First single `Crying Lightning' is then a plodding and intriguing track that grows into spitting venomous chorus. Yet through that Turner's pop sensibilities hold it up as something really good. Ironically the thing actually now feels like a dream or a nightmare with tracks like `Dangerous Animals', `Secret Door', `Fire and the Thud' and `Dance Little Liar'.

Ultimately everybody's influence on it is carefully balanced to create a coherent and original whole. It will be interesting to see what they do with the tracks live, but for now this is solid and promising from one of Britain's brightest hopes.
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on 28 September 2009
The UK music press has created and destroyed so many bands over the years, that it's always best to take a "don't-believe-the-hype" approach.

But three albums into their career, here's what we know:

1. Arctic Monkeys are the best British band of the new millennium. (Sorry Franz Ferdinand, Editors, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, etc.).

2. Alex Turner has the wit, intelligence, and vocal chops to be ranked among the best British singer-songwriters of the past 40 years - he's up there with the likes of Ray Davies, Pete Townsend, Paul Weller, Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker.

3. "Humbug" is a major step in the band's musical evolution-Sheffield post-punk blended with the stated influences of Cream and Jimi Hendrix and produced by Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and James Ford (Simian/Alex Turner's side project The Last Shadow Puppets).

The Monkeys delivered on the hype with their brilliant debut album "Whatever People Say I Am, That Is What I'm Not." They followed up with the excellent "Favourite Worst Nightmare." Now they've delivered possibly their best yet: a hard-boiled sweet called "Humbug." Along with a new maturity, there's a familiar lyrical cheekiness, too, especially on tracks like My Propeller ("I can't get it started on my own") and Crying Lightning ("My thoughts got rude as you talked and chewed/On the last of your pick'n'mix"). "Pretty Visitors" is the track most like the Monkeys of old. And standout "Cornerstone" is a song of lost love and mistaken identities reminiscent of The Who's "Disguises."

Clearly, the cheeky Monkeys have evolved into grown up rockers.

Bring on the backlash.
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on 30 August 2009
I was fortunate enough to receive a promo copy of the album several months ago, and for me (a massively obsessed fan of the Arctic Monkeys) this is in keeping with some of their best work, the reason I think some people don't seem to like it is that they've changed their style and their inspiration slightly, but like most bands they want to experiment if they had produced another album with identical stuff to WPSIATWIN or FWN then people would be annoyed because it would be way too similar, this way they mix things up, and they do still keep their uniqueness in many of the songs, the guitar melodies in secret door from Jamie Cook is very similar to that of Fluorescent Adolescents. The really avant-garde songs in this album in my opinion are ones such as Jeweler's Hands and Pretty Visitors, both of these songs work really well.

From this album there are a few shining gems, such as Cornerstone, My Propeller and Dangerous Animals.

Overall I think this is another huge success for the Monkeys, who knows what their next album will be like.....
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on 26 August 2009
Anyone looking for same again will be disappointed.

Arctic Monkeys are one of the best bands of the moment and look set to develop into one of the great rock bands.

Lyrically and musically strong. Not afraid to experiment. Cool. Great name. What more could you want? Oh yeah, they're also young and although you can tell that they have a good knowledge of rock and roll history, they're not beholden to it.

In 2006 Arctic Monkeys took a return ticket from Sheffield to somewhere. They haven't reached that mystery destination yet, but sure are enjoying the journey. I suggest that we, the listeners, grab a complimentary hot chocolate and join them.

ps - I bought Humbug on vinyl with the free Mp3 downloads - excellent, best of both worlds.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 April 2015
I would regard myself as one of the most avid listeners of the Arctic Monkeys, and anything by Alex Turner to be honest. But I have to say that 2009's 'Humbug' is the one album by the band that listen to the least. It's still very good, but I think it's the weakest of the five. This album moved away from the sound of the first two, but I always like to see progression. If you didn't care for the 'in-your-face' style of the first releases (which I loved by the way), you might well still be able to appreciate this record, which you'll probably regard as more accomplished.

The songs here are certainly more mature, but their much slower, and it took me a few listens to be able to get used this new style. I must add that this wasn't the case with the next one however, and I do believe Suck It And See to be a far better album. 'Humbug' ultimately receives a 3.5 star rating for me, it's by no means an instant classic, but just let it grow on you, I did, and I'm glad that I gave it that chance. Jamie Cook is a first-class guitar player, Alex Tuner's lyrics and vocals are up there with the very best, and his cheeky trademark words, and sneering delivering are still here, only now with some beautiful melodies in the tunes.

The dreamy 'Secret Door', phenomenal and ingenious 'My Propeller', and the breezy love song 'Cornerstone' are my favourites, but the highlight comes at the very end with the magical closer: 'The Jeweller's Hands', which is a truly haunting piece, with mysterious lyrics which demand multiple interpretations. This gem has the most interesting lyrics of any the Arctic's songs, the words are so very deep, and I regard this one at least to be among my all-time favourites in Arctic Monkeys' backlog. Buy this album, there is much to enjoy.
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on 27 August 2009
Any fears stoked that this is The Arctic Monkeys' sellout album; an attempt to smooth off their rough edges and thereby 'break America', (à la Kings of Leon's Only By The Night) can be put to bed. Humbug is an album of singularity equal to, although very different from, their first two records.

Musically, the combination of hard rock, post punk and Hammer Horror trappings has left them sounding something like the 80s Matchbox B Line Disaster to my ears, with a dash of math rock's structures and Josh Homme's own desert rock aesthetic thrown in to boot.

The band have also forgone the full tilt punk attack of their previous output in favour of steamroller tempos and dense arrangements that owe more to metal. Jamie Cook alternates between atmospheric, sustained guitar lines and a jabbing, tenacious attack, and the band also make creative use of creepy fairground organ and ghostly backing vocals. But it's Matt Helders who proves himself the star here; providing purpose to the slower burn numbers, holding the more complex songs together during their turn on a dime changes and sounding like he's trying to destroy his kit during the heaviest, most electrifying moments.

Curiously enough for such a self conciously heavy affair, Humbug also contains the band's two most gorgeous melodies to date in the form of Secret Door and Cornerstone, the latter a ballad reminiscent of Blur or The Smiths and therefore somewhat less of a curveball than the rest of the album.

The other big change here is in Alex Turner's lyrical style, which eschews the poetry of the everyday for straight up poetry; dense with metaphor and allusion. The boy meets girl subject matter remains essentially unchanged, but is here viewed through a filter of sexual obssession, celebrity and fantastical imagery. It's more Harmony Korine than Alan Bennett, but in a way gentler than 'Whatever' and 'Favourite'. The paparazzi stalked It girl of Secret Door, who you suspect would have come in for a kicking at the pen of Jarvis or Damon Albarn, is treated with surprising reverence. Those with an affection for Turner's barbed wit or everyman perspective may be a little disappointed as a result, but it's further indication of the band's willingness to push themselves and evolve.
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on 14 September 2009
I remember when the Arctic Monkeys' last album came out, Favourite Worst Nightmare, playing it was an explosion of great rock to dance to. Since I wasn't following the band to closely, that was kind of what I expected over again, but the album couldn't be further from it. This new album still features their trademark sound, only slightly chilled out... totally unexpected. And they are brilliant at it. The lyrics are still smart, the sound is great, guitars are superb, drums are banging hard, but somehow it feels so well chilled... a must have, and a brilliant evolution for a great band.
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on 28 August 2009
Dark, brooding and truely truely brilliant. It got me on the first listen and just gets better and better on each play. I have had my ipod surgically attached so I don't miss a moment to listen to this masterpiece. Yes very different from the previous albums but the swagger and cockiness is still there in buckets. I can't believe the negative reviews from people who clearly loved the first two albums but don't get this one. Each to there own but I am so glad that I am one of the people who do get it, its just pure pure class.
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on 4 September 2009
After being introduced to this band a few months before 'Whatever People Say..' was released, I've listened to this band grow into so much more than a group of lads from Sheffield with quirky tunes into a band that will be remembered for years to come.

Being a long time fan of Queens of the Stone Age I've been eagerly awaiting this record since first hearing Josh Homme was to be their producer. My anticipation only heightened when I found out they would be spending time on the Joshua Tree Ranch, the birthplace of 'The Desert Sessions' records, and I'm ecstatic to see some of the magic has rubbed off on our boys.

As the title says they've gone to a much darker place when whilst creating this album, shaking off the slightly popish feeling from the first two. This makes the previous albums feel like they were written with the fans in mind, whereas this one has an air of musical exploration in mind. Its good to know that in an age where just about anybody is given a record deal there are still cracking bands around who aren't afraid to do something different.
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