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Album Review: Arctic Monkeys’ ‘The Car’ is retro-infused perfection

British alt-rock band, the Arctic Monkeys have proved their staying power once again with “The Car.” However, this time, their newest effort introduces a new sound that lands perfectly. 

The album embraces a jazzy, lounge-style tone with disco elements and the familiar rock sound that listeners have come to love. While this sounds like a chaotic mix on paper, the styles all blend beautifully. 

One such song to do this is, “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am.” The song blends funky disco sounds with orchestral jazz elements to create a track with a distinctly ‘70s vibe. Similarly, “Jet Skis on the Moat” combines a gentle drumline and the heavy use of a guitar with a wah-wah pedal to create a mellow funk sound. 

This retro-infused style is something that also carries throughout the album. In the first track of the album, “There’d Better be a Mirrorball,” there is a sad yet sultry track guided by jazzy piano, dramatic string arrangements and a distinctly lounge-singer style complete with sweeping falsettos from lead vocalist Alex Turner. This combination gives it a style reminiscent of mellow ‘50s jazz pop.

However, the incorporation of retro styles does not mean that the band has abandoned their distinct style. Songs like “Body Paint” keep retro elements and anchor the band to their lyrical style. In conjunction with orchestral string arrangements serving as the base to build off of, the sensual is vividly descriptive yet mysterious in the lyrics that carry the track along. This harkens back to the band’s past efforts without sounding repetitive. It perfectly strikes the balance between showing the band’s evolving style without making them sound like a sell-out trying to keep up with the trends. 

This is shown in a slightly different way in the title track, “The Car.” Starting off with a quiet acoustic guitar arrangement and piano with the crooning voice of Turner, the song crescendos from there. It turns from a quiet tune into a track complete with the familiar sultry lyrical style and a violin arrangement before dramatically culminating in a sweeping, electric guitar solo. These dramatic crescendos remind listeners of the band’s past tracks and fan favorites like the ever-popular, “505” and “Do I Wanna Know?”.

Furthermore, the imagery carries the album. Songs like “Mr Schwartz” offer vivid descriptions of the scene the band paints. One such description is “Wardrobe’s lint-rollin’ your velveteen suit,” setting a sultry scene for the listener to picture as they listen to the sweeping instrumentals of the song. The band’s talent for lyricism is further illustrated in, “Sculptures of Anything Goes,” which presents detailed descriptions of, “Blank canvases leant against gallery walls, flowing towards sculptures of anything goes, on the marble stairs, leading to almost wherever you want them to go”.

Overall, the album is a perfect blend of retro and modern styles with poetic lyricism serving as the bow to tie it all together. 

Rating: 5/5 


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