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on 18 February 2010
Undoubtedly, "Humbug" is a thousand miles from the spiky, infectious riffs of "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" and the days of lines such as "you used to get it in your fish nets..." from the wonderfully-crafted "Fluorescant Adolescant". This development inevitably cut many of the loose, pop-hungry listeners from the Monkeys' Fan Club, as the album slips into more powerful, harsher depths - evident from its introductory moments, delivered by forthcoming single "My Propeller", which synchronises thudding drums with an uncompromising pound of electric guitars. Abandoned are the ground-level observations noted by front man Alex Turner in a heavy and (rightly) exposed Yorkshire accent - here, it is somewhat layered with a captivating eeriness. This is perhaps most notable on track six, "Fire and the Thud", on which Turner is accompanied by softly ticking drums and a bittersweet riff. Yet the likes of "Pretty Visitors" offers something quite contrary. It displays with perfect extravagance Arctic Monkeys' true capabilities. "What came first, the chicken or the d***head?" spits Turner, before ploughing on with chaotic force, until the song melts into its gothic, organ-laden chorus. The likes of "Dangerous Animals" (where, yes, the song's title is shouted out letter by letter - but unforgiving? Really?) is as deliciously engrossing as its fellow tracks, and, lyrically, is superb. "Cornerstone" is something slightly more romantic with a sweet, slow-paced melodic background, whilst "Dance Little Liar" offers a spooky combination of twanging guitars, and the hypnotic ease of Turner's and that of the backing vocals. "The Jeweller's Hands" will most likely provoke the use of "replay" several times, if not just for its beautiful end, where soft chants meet electric guitar solos and the album reaches its spectacular conclusion. "Humbug" certainly leaves the listener asking "What next?" in terms of Arctic Monkeys' development as one of the most significant alternative groups of the last decade. Although regardless of their next move, "Humbug" is a positive stepping stone in the right direction. 10/10.
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on 5 September 2009
Don't listen to the negative comments! This album may not have the youthful energy that made the first two so enjoyable but it is still a great album and demonstrates the bands unique song crafting talent.
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on 26 August 2009
Don't believe the negative reviews, i'm not that much of a fan of the first two albums, but this third album is the best album by a British Guitar band in years. Just give it a couple of listens, it's got a depth that was lacking before.
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on 27 August 2009
They started out as four Yorkshire lads whose style was full to the BRIM in punk-funk guitar riffs in combination with Alex's quirky ironic lyrics and Sheffield poised vocals.

A few of the FWN tracks had a more dark tone than on their debut album, particularly 'Do Me A Favour' and '505' (2 of my favourites). With the the aid of Josh Homme, they have taken this 'tone' and used it to develop their exclusive new direction with their sound, which echoes Queens Of The Stone Age's style in some ways, but with the cheeky Sheffield twist that was evident on their first album.

The difference is now they seem more professional, and on a somewhat more serious level.
Instead of entering commercial territory like many other bands, the Arctics have gone the other way, creating harder more challenging choons, further confirming they are firmly sticking to their British roots and not attempting to crack the USA.

With the upbeat yet simultaneously gloomy opener 'My Propeller' you are given a false sense of security that this will be a relaxed listen like their Debut album.

'Crying Lighting' is their first single from Humbug, and oozes emo fetishes, reassuring listeners that this is going to be an ominous collection of wickedness.

'Dangerous Animals' isn't too disimilar from Balaclava.

'Secret Door' is reminiscent of '60s rock and embraces The Last Shadow Puppet's sound.

'Potion Approaching' alternates between a fast-paced drum slamming anthem and a slow-paced alternative laced with haunting backing vocals.

'Fire and the Thud' is introduced as a lethargic acid-trip, and only at the very end does it kick in, and MY does it kick in, with a fierce 'Thud.'

'Cornerstone' is the Humbug version of 'Riot Van' and 'Only Ones Who Knows', which entails the psychotic obsession with an ex-lover. One of the more radio-friendly tracks.

Dance Little Liar is a haunting and addictive track, which is heavily mimics 'Do Me A Favour' but with an even broodier atmosphere. My personal favourite track on the album.

'Pretty Visitors' is heavy & engergetic, and wouldn't have been out of place on either of their first two albums.

'The Jeweller's Hands' is a quirky finisher which is a brilliantly suited outro to 'My Propeller.'

For me this is a perfect album, which focuses on the wise anecdotes hidden beneath their laddish anthems on their first two albums, and EXPLODES them into this matured audio-orgasm of emotional highs and lows.
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on 31 July 2009
How things have rapidly changed for the lives of the Arctic's over the 3/4 years they have been around. While it could be argued that at first they mainly achieved success riding on a tidelwave of hype and an unusual marketing technique that was in no way their own doing, nothing of the like can really be said now. After establishing a style of energetic indie rock layered with anecdotal colloquial lyrics which flowed together with an inspired imagination and were delivered with a localized thick accent, you might be forgiven to think tried and tested would be the charm. You would be wrong.

It turns out that in actual fact it seems that rather than treading an already worn path with a slightly different flavour and atmospheric touch, "Favourite Worst Nightmare" was more of a transitional record which gave subtle hints as to the bands risky and rather interesting new direction. "Humbug" finds the band suddenly open as far as the fan base is concerned. This is not a truly natural progression from earlier work and indeed it is far different to anything found on "Whatever You Say I Am", but I find that using the word vulnerable for the band would be incorrect, as this record is a triumph of Turner's lyrical style and sees a band completely comfortable with artistic freedom.

"Humbug" as an album feeds of the circus and playground underlying theme that surfaced at points of the previous album, such as "505" and "This House Is A Circus". Opener "My Propeller" acts as an almost perfect album opener to give just the right amount of kick, while at the same time introducing the album's sound and Turner's now much darker tone of singing as is evident when he invites people to "have a spin of his propeller", delivered with such intimidating effect. Lyrical charm is still to found here as well, in "Dangerous Animals" Turner observes his pray "is the most frustrating type/you should have racing stripes/the way you keep me in pursuit". Lead single "Crying Lightning" displays a fascination of using sweets as suggestive metaphors towards desirable objects, showing a lighter sense of humor at times from Turner. Slower tempo's which build up ever so delicately are found here, and if nothing else show the true self confidence now instilled in the band like wildfire. Tracks such as "Secret Door" sound very much like "Only One's Who Knows" from the previous album, and tantalize with controlled tight rhythms and a dark crooning delivery, as such can be found in "Dance Little Liar" which never outstays its 4.5 minute welcome, crafting together sublime closeknit music and development. Fans who proclaim "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" and "Brianstorm" as true Arctic style are also catered for on the album, with "Potion Approaching" adopting typical Arctic zeal and true firepower, as well as "Pretty Visitors" which spurs into life with power a few minutes in.

All in all, "Humbug" is going to polarize many Arctic fans come its true release. Some may leave the band behind as not staying faithful to the tried and tested method, others may laud the band for not sitting on its laurels and constantly expanding its sound to new boundaries. This record sees the band continue an artistic exploration and where they will end up is anyones guess, but for the moment, things look pretty rosey.
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VINE VOICEon 26 August 2009
This has split opinion! I know I should love it, as everyone appears to love what the Monkeys do, but after loving the raw power and sheer fun of "Whatever People Say I Am.....", I was disappointed with "Favourite Worst Nightmare", and this latest offering is moving further down the "serious" path, to limited success. It does not help that the poorest track on the album is the opener (again my opinion) but a fact that reading through the reviews here is generally agreed.

The involvement of Josh Homme, also seems to have received mixed views; I believe you can hear his influence in much of the dark, almost sultry music here - parallels can certainly be drawn with more recent QOTSA offerings (which I have struggled to listen to). Don't buy it expecting the "Dancefloor" indie pop of the first album.

Lyrically there are still some gems on here (as one would expect with the Monkeys) but none that instantly grab - they take repeated listens; I just don't feel I can either slate it (as it may grow) or rave madly about it (it may sit on the shelf if the next few listens do not grab my attention more). After all, it has not been out a week yet, and who remembers the phrase "slow burner" when applied to music? We do tend to live in an age of "tracks" (as opposed to albums), and if the impact is not immediate, bin it, or should I say delete it.

I will give it a while then, but in the meantime will remain firmly on the top of my fence!
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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 6 July 2015
Great album with some of their best songs, completely undamaged and with a booklet with all lyrics and a few good pictures of the band just to finish it off. Another great album to add to a collection or amazing songs and bands. Great Quality.
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on 30 January 2010
I love "Whatever people say I am" and "Favourite Worst Nightmare" - two of my favourite albums of all time but a big part of the appeal was the innocence and freshness of the first and the cocky knowingness and swagger of the second. By definition, it's very difficult for bands to retain the first quality as they become bigger and more established and maybe they lose the second as they get ground down by the music business.

This album feels like a quite conscious effort at re-invention (though not in the cynical manufactured sense of a Madonna or some other commercial enterprise) that only partially works. Crying Lightning is the only really great song that sticks in the mind whereas virtually every song on the first two albums makes me grin when it comes up on my iPod.
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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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