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81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

'Humbug,' the 3rd album from Sheffield's Arctic Monkeys finds the band brimming with vim, vigor and new ideas. They brought in a new production accomplice, Josh Homme, for some of the recording. He generously hosted and produced tracks with them at his Joshua Tree studio. Then they rejoined forces with James Ford, producer of the previous 2 Arctic Monkeys and Last Shadow Puppets albums, in Brooklyn, NY to complete the tracks that became 'Humbug.' The album is stunning set of songs both heavier and lush than previous albums but still full of the Monkeys usual punch and vitality.

1. My Propeller
2. Crying Lightning
3. Dangerous Animals
4. Secret Door
5. Potion Approaching
6. Fire and the Thud
7. Cornerstone
8. Dance Little Liar
9. Pretty Visitors
10. The Jeweller's Hand

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 25, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • ASIN: B002EWD08Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,839 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on August 27, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Into a new studio in the desert after 2 years, the AMs team with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) in the producers chair to deliver another great album, possibly their best to date. The lyric style and subjects remain the same but the delivery and musical envelope have matured and expanded adding weight and a welcome breath of unpredictability. Judging by the quality of the song writing, the AMs could've easily tossed off another record like their debut or FWN, but instead they take more of a "been there done that" approach and explore other influences and moods to expand their sound. The result is unmistakably AMs, but indeed the Hommes' influence is heard and it works very well. The album is a fantastic grower that over time reveals judicious sonic layering, some of their strongest melodies, interesting and less typical beats, and overall more ambitious song execution. Simultaneously haunting and jubilant the AMs have hit their third album on the head; a challenge always more difficult after avoiding the sophomore slump, which of course they did with flying colors.
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35 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 25, 2009
Format: Audio CD
At first this album seems too slow and different to be appreciated as much as the previous two efforts. However, after 2 or 3 listens it really becomes a fantastic display of Arctic Monkeys' incredible musical talent. This album creeps up on you and eventually you start playing the songs over and over in your head just like all the other Arctic Monkeys songs to date. Though at first it may seem void of hooks or energy on second, third, fourth listen it is clearly there and as good as ever.

Track 1. My Propeller: Fantastic opener. Starts out slow and builds up to a fantastic climax, setting the tone for the rest of the album. The drums are catchy and the lyrics as good as ever. 4.5/5
Track 2. Crying Lightning: Everyone knows enough about this song already, it's good. 5/5
Track 3. Dangerous Animals: This song took me a couple listens to enjoy but the drums that kick in towards the final third of the song really seal the deal for me. It's a lot catchier than it seems at first and is one of the stand out tracks in my opinion. 5/5
Track 4. Secret Door: Seems to be an early favorite among the fans. Unlike most of the other songs on "Humbug", this one starts out with lots of energy and a great full sound and then builds down to a surprisingly catchy hook. 5/5
Track 5. Potion Approaching: Probably one of the least radio friendly songs on the album, still has a very full sound and grows on you after a few listens. 4/5
Track 6. Fire and the Thud: Amazing atmosphere in this song, and a very subtle build towards the end. This one is DEFINITELY a grower, you may disregard it at first but, trust me, that's a mistake. Beautiful work. 5/5
Track 7. Cornerstone: Another early fan favorite, easy to sing along too, somewhat reminiscent of Fluorescent Adolescent, Mardy Bum, etc.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nse Ette TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 25, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Heavy and dark best describes the Arctic Monkeys new sound on their third CD. Despite their protestations to the contrary, they sound more mature and fans of their previously more frenetic fare ("I bet you look good on the dancefloor", "Brianstorm" to mention a few) may be sorely disappointed. It falls somewhere between the Arctic Monkeys sound of old and lead vocalist Alex Turner's more symphonic side project Last Shadow Puppets.

The CD comprises just 10 tracks, opening with "My propeller" which finds Alex Turner practically crooning to a gently rocking backdrop. "My propeller won't spin/and I can't get it started on my own/when are you arriving".

Lead-off single "Crying lightning" is filled with crunchy riffs and chiming guitars and should be a favourite of fans of their old sound. Lovely!

Other standouts are the stomping "Secret door" (with a nice acoustic intro), the sombre "The fire and the thud", the charming chiming ballad "Cornerstone" (about picking up girls in pubs), the beautiful ambient "Dance little liar", "Pretty visitors" (filled with angular guitars and irregular drum patterns, the closest to their old sound), and closing "The jeweller's hands" (sounding like some score to some suspense movie, with a swirling psychedelic-sounding coda, think "505" from "Favourite worst nightmare").

Their lyrics, as usual, tell fabulous stories; "The inevitables gather to push you around/Any old voice makes a punishing sound/He became laughter's assassin/Shortly after he showed you what it was" from "The jeweller's hands".

This album is edgy and experimental, and I'm glad to see Turner and the lads not content to remain in their comfort zone. A grower, but one that richly rewards at the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on January 10, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The Arctic Monkeys aren't kids anymore. The mere need for speed no longer thrills the way it used to, and their third album is a darker, more complex batch of songs than anything they've ever attempted. Stone Age Queen Josh Homme may have pushed the band in this direction, but since some of the songs on Favourite Worst Nightmare seemed to me to already be moving towards the dark, I suspect a natural progression.

In many ways, "Humbug" reminds me of The Undertones' as they progressed to their Positive Touch album. The bands both started out as hyper-adolescent punkier outfits, with their lyrical sights set on teen girls and gear (Mars Bars to Nikes), and both sounded like a group that could have only formed in a British DiY environment. While their fans might have wanted the Monkeys to do songs like "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor" forever, band leader Alex Turner appears to be tired of the form. So he minor-keys it, slows the pace down (allowing drummer Matt Helders room to show off) and allows his voice to flow like an instrument.

That makes songs like "Propeller" sound almost menacing. Or let the hook in the first single, "Crying Lightning," evolve out from the song instead of sledgehammering you. Or to experiment with textures, like the backwards guitar on "Cornerstone." With "Humbug," the Arctic Monkeys prove once and for all that they're a three dimensional act, and will outlast the hype that swept them to their original stardom.
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