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Suck It and See
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
The Arctic Monkeys rose to prominence with a style of music that was fairly upbeat, lively and more rock orientated and with each new album they move further away from their early template, shedding fans with each new release along the way.

With the band's previous album, Humbug, the music became more difficult and experimental, with production duties being handled in part by legendary QOTSA/Kyuss musician Josh Homme.

For fans who were very turned off by Humbug, this latest album, Suck It And See is not the glorious return to the style of their debut album that you may be hoping for.

The musical direction suggested by excellent single `Don't Sit Down `Cause I Moved Your Chair,' and the drummer-singing pre-release track `Brick By Brick,' may have been misleading as the overall tone is less rock orientated than previous Arctic Monkeys material.

The album rather, is a mixture of the slower, more ballad style material such as Alex's solo work and Arctic Monkeys works like the B Side `The Bakery,' or `505,' from Favourite Worst Nightmare, with the experimental style found on Humbug (here especially on tracks such as the weird `Library Pictures,' and on `All My Own Stunts' where Josh Homme makes his fifth guest vocal appearance with the band)

Cleaner, more acoustic or quiet tracks such as `Reckless Serenade,' and `The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala,' form the majority of the album and there is even a reworking of Alex's solo ballad from the Submarine EP `Piledriver Waltz.'

Ignoring musical direction however, the album is very strong, with a diverse and musically interesting set of songs with the same vocal and lyrical style and quality you can always find in Arctic Monkeys music.

Overall, this album is worth checking out if you are a fan of everything the band do, and are happy with their progression and shifts in direction over the years, but I would not recommend it to fans who vastly prefer the style found on Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not because this album is perhaps the polar opposite of that album, where a consistent set of sharp and direct songs are replaced with either subtle and ponderous or just downright weird ones.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2011
The Monkeys debut LP's claim to greatness was derived from the ability of Alex Turner to deliver a certain cleverness, a unique obsession to detail, and British cheek that on one level told the story of a drunken night in Sheffield from the viewpoint of twenty one year old locals. The story progressed in the critiques of their subsequent albums "Favourite Worst Nightmare" and "Humbug", with the main focus of the reviews of critics being Turner's lyricism. With "Suck It and See" Turner's lyrics were my initial reasoning that this is indeed the group's best album, but after several dozen listens I have come to realize what makes their new album my favorite album of 2011 is not that Alex Turner has earned the title of the premier lyricist of current music, but that the band as a whole has hit their peak.

"She Thunderstorms" presents drummer Matt Helders making his presence first known on the album in a signature pounding, attacking drum lead in. Critically, Helders has been praised for his drumming talent and seems to be the most respected member of the band(other than Turner) in regards to musicianship as his drumming has been a Monkey cornerstone that drove the energy of past albums. The first surprise of "Suck It and See" is that the sheer power of Helders arrival flows seamlessly into a more reserved, groove oriented style. The refinement and maturation of Helders' percussion work has allowed bassist Nick O'Malley to reveal his technical skills have advanced the furthest of any member's instrumental talents. Matt Helders has always been a great drummer, but this is the first album O'Malley has proved to be a great bassist. "Reckless Serenade" is a prime example of the two's offerings being key to a near perfect song. Their combined talents serve as a rhythm section that ties the album together from beginning to end, bringing to mind the best of 60's pop studio musicians, The Smiths, and the Stone Roses.

The sheer scale of Turner's lyrics gives way to the deduction that the album is a place where Jamie Cook has become the leader of guitar direction and sound. Without Humbug's Homme drone and desert haze, Cook shows a newly found inventiveness fueled by influence from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Johnny Marr, and contemporaries The Horrors.

This musical growth sets a wondrous stage for the real show, Turner. Having worked through the convoluted, often meaningless lyrics of Humbug's weaker moments, Alex proves himself to be a master of the pop song. He loves, he lusts, he uses incredibly obscure metaphors. He has carved himself a permanent place in the great songwriters of Britain. Upon the rock solid foundation of the band, Turner draws influence from all over the map. The music's platform allows him to draw from Johnny Cash, Brian Wilson, and LCD Soundsystem. Combine this direction with his obsession with weather, and we're given tunes like the title track "Suck It and See" and "Love is a Laserquest". "That's not a skirt girl that's a sawed off shotgun, and I can only hope you've got it aimed at me" croons Turner on the title track. As to the sheer weirdness of the above quote, don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from. To say the least, this is a good thing.

In 2011 we saw two bands that shared very similar rises to fame release their fourth albums. The Strokes' "Angles" found a bunch of individuals trying to take the album in their own direction, resulting in a disjointed disappointment and a strong sign that the Strokes truly have seen their peak. On the other hand Arctic Monkeys made their best album, the best album of 2011, and a work that will surely be ranked highly on some NME "Best Album" List twenty years from now. Suck It and See is great because it is aware of it strengths and weaknesses. This album takes risks, brings smiles, stirs up regret, beautifies lust, and makes me personally consider take chances where I wouldn't of before. As much as it pains me to say it, maybe the NME was right from the start this time. 5/5
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
This album marks the newest transition of the Arctic Monkeys. Away goes the psychedelic influenced "Humbug" to the soothing, mellow "Suck it and See." I highly recommend that anyone who is turned off by this album at first to listen to it several times before making a decision.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2011
Even though it doesn't reach the greatness of their debut album (not many albums do), it's still their best album since. It's certainly their most "poppy" album to date, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The people that complain about their change in sound, are probably the same nimrods that would have whined about Revolver or Led Zeppelin III. They have grown and matured, and it shows. Also, the title, Suck It and See, is a british expression which basically means give it a try.

Stand outs include, Black Treacle, The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala, That's Where You're Wrong, and my personal fave, Reckless Serenade (the bassline is killer). It has some solid rockers in All My Own Stunts and Brick by Brick, which gets a bad rap because it's repetitive, but hey so were early Beatles songs! It doesn't have any particularly poor tracks, though it's definitely not a perfect album, as Love Is a Laserquest and Piledriver Waltz (lyrically great though) drag just a bit, and Library Pictures is a bit chaotic. Overall it's a very strong album, which I would describe as a combination of the lighter Cornerstone and the darker rest of Humbug.

Since this is a review of the vinyl version, I should add that my vinyl was pressed well, with not many pops and cracks. Also, it is highly recommended that you buy the vinyl, since you get a free download code, which you can burn onto a CD.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
(Taken from my blog at [...])

Full disclosure: the Arctic Monkeys are my favorite band. Why? They have everything I like in a band: they fully understand dynamics of music, the lyrics are poetic but not too difficult to understand, they can rock out harder than the rest of them, they can produce ballads better than the best of them, they produce albums at a consistent rate without losing quality, and they feel like guys who could be my best friends. More than all that though, the truth is, I never know what to expect with each album they put out. Each one is distinct and different, each a separate direction they take and explore.

With this album, they move further away from the high-school shenanigans of "Whatever People Say I Am..." and away from the super fast post-punk of "Favourite Worst Nightmare". They stay in the more mid-tempo range of their last effort "Humbug" but have drifted away from the Josh Homme-inflected darkness and move towards a more light affair. This record is more awash in shoegaze-era sentiments and a bit of nostalgia but not too far removed from the snarky playfulness that defines them.

There are rockers on this album, for sure ("Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair", "Library Pictures") but they seem to matter more than ever. They have constructed an album that not only has a focus, but a purpose. A lot of thought has been put into what the music means to them and what they think it will mean to us. "Piledriver Waltz" and "Love is a Laserquest" are among their best songs, not only because of the truth and character that defines them but also due to the structure and writing of the songs. Although the term is bandied about quite a bit when a band puts out their 3rd or 4th album, the Arctic Monkeys have truly matured. But not too mature to forget their trademark snarl.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
Alex Turner has a thing for candy. You see, there is a candy shop in the UK called Mr. Humbug, and their slogan is "suck it and see". Alex has been fixated on that shop since he sang about strawberry lace on "Crying Lightning". Now with their newest release he's decided to sweeten up his lyrics and tone down the acerbic sounds of their last album. (coincidentally titled "Humbug")
What I found interesting about this album was the fact that I didn't need multiple listens to get into it. Most of these songs have easy to enjoy melodies and lyrics. However not everything is great in candy land.

The first song "She's Thunderstorms" fools you into believing that this is going to be a powerful song once Matt pounds down his intro, but it levels off and doesn't really go anywhere. Alex continues to impress with a great retro '60's melody but the chorus is just too sweet and sugary which is fine on occasion but with this album your teeth will rot.

Next comes "Black Treacle" A catchy tune with more fantastic lyrics from Alex "I feel like the Sundance Kid behind a synthesizer". This is what pop music is all about. A song that can change a bad day into something more bearable. By the way Mr. Humbug makes a great black treacle. You should try it. ok. I'm just kidding about that last part.

"Brick by Brick" is the least creative song on the album. Why they decided to throw this b-side filler on right after such a fantastic song is a crime. The song really is only 30 seconds long and stretched into three minutes by few lousy backing vocal "ahhs" and a slowed down tempo near the end.
What's so amazing is that this group has tons of yet to be released songs that are ten times better. (I'm still waiting for a studio version of "Put me in a terror pocket") Was this to be Matt's break out hit? who knows.

"The Hellcat Spangled sha la la". I've read many reviews that point to this song as their best song on the album. I'm having a little trouble with that. Although it is a pleasant song, Jamie's guitar just doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the song. Why does Jamie always use the same echo and reverb effects on quieter tunes like this? There are so many other sounds you can get from that guitar Jamie.

"Don't sit down 'cause I moved your Chair" This song reminds me of "Crying Lightning" only with better lyrics and a crunchier sound. A nice loud song to get into but is still lacking a kick-ass chorus or a middle eight.

"Library Pictures" recalls the manic sounds of there early recordings when alex's vocals would get your blood flowing. I like the "Godzilla" riff and how the song never stays in the same direction. It's too bad that it clocks in at less then two and a half minutes but I can live with that.

"All my own stunts" keeps up the flow of the last two songs with alex experimenting a little with melodies and guitar riffs. This song may need a few listens but it is guaranteed to grow on you with each playback.

"Reckless Serenade" begins another change of direction which continues through to the end of the album. Not quite as catchy as Mr. Turners other retrospective love songs but I like the beauty of it. One thing I notice with this album is that Nick O'Malley has finally woke up and is more melodic in his playing.

"Piledriver Waltz" This is Alex at his best lyrically but not quite as good as the original version from the "Submarine" EP. Here we get the same echo/reverb again from Jamies guitar.

"Love is a Laserquest" is another retro style song with some great drumming and bass, but here is Jamie again with that same echo/reverb. there is a nice guitar break near the end that makes up for it.

"Suck it and See" is a great song. It really is. Musically and lyrically. It would have been a pop hit if it wasn't already written by other groups such as U2 or REM, which is a shame. I really love this song even though musically it isn't very original.

The album closes with "That's Where Your Wrong" This song sounds straight from the "Breakfast Club" soundtrack. An 80's style take on "A certain Romance".

My review may sound a little harsh, but overall the album isn't that bad. James Ford's production is better then Josh Homme's any day of the week. Alex continues to grow as a songwriter and you have to give these guys credit for taking their albums into different directions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2012
This album, although being nothing like their first 3 albums epitomizes the return to form of this fantastic band. 'Humbug' despite having the odd great song did not have the consistency of this album. The whole album is more mellow than any of its predecessors with fantastic songs such as 'Black Treacle' and 'Piledriver Waltz', meanwhile there are other great songs to be found such as 'Suck it and See' and 'She's Thunderstorms'. Anyone who has written a unfavorable review cannot have given this album a proper or second listen as I honestly rate this as one of my favorite albums, but then again that is the point of the album title 'Suck it and See' meaning that you should try it and see what you think. I personally think this is a phenomenal album!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2011
WARNING: This review will be very biased because I actually liked Humbug. I also believe that Alex Turner could not write a bad song. (Average maybe, but not craptastic)

I'd have to admit that on the first listen, "Suck It And See" sounds very average. Aside from the adrenaline rush delivered by "Brick by Brick", "Don't Sit Down Cause I Moved You're Chair", and "Library Pictures", there's not really much to say about it.

This is where a lot of people get turned off by the album. There's really no point in listening to it a second time, they think. A lot of the argument coming from people who hate this album is that it's lacking "highlights".

The second listen was much better, mostly because I'm starting to discover hooks that I missed on the first listen.

Third listen was even better. The songs are definitely starting to sound a lot more catchier.

Fourth listen was when I truly fell in love with it. From then on I just fell deeper and deeper.

It's amazing how consistent the album is from start to finish. From the ominous guitar intro of "She's Thunderstorms" to the last buzzing bass note in "That's Where You're Wrong", there is never a dull moment. For people complaining about the lack of "highlights", I can assure you that each song has their own special surprise. Try listening to "Library Pictures" a couple of times and then try not to sing the last line or the "Ten nine eight.." part.

You may argue that I have to beat it into my head to like it because I forced myself to listen to it many times. Well yeah, if I only liked things based on their first impression, I wouldn't be able to appreciate a lot of things like hot sauce or sushi. It's a phenomenon known as acquired taste. However, if forced myself to listen to the sound of fingernails scraping a chalkboard over and over again, I doubt that I'd be able to beat it into my head before I beat my own head to death. My point is that I could not make the unpleasant sound more pleasant no matter how bad I want it to be.

In terms of how they rank up against their first three albums, it's really hard for me to say. I like to think their albums as ice cream flavors in that I don't really have a favorite, but some days I prefer one over the other. If you genuinely liked the first three flavors, there's no reason why you shouldn't like this one. Suck it and see, you never know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2011
It must be said before than anything else that the Arctic Monkeys' new record is really influenced (if you ask me) by the 60's music and everything it was heard back then. This doesn't necessarily mean that they went all pop here. You can still listen to some tunes that remind us to their first 2 albums. "Brick by brick", "Library pictures", "Don't sit down...", and "All my own stunts" are the heavy ones in here. Actually the single "Don't sit down..." reminds me by moments to Nirvana's days when grunge used to be real. Great tune. Now, if you ever listened to the first records of the Beatles or at least heard of them in their "commercial" days before they became the band that influenced the rest of the bands all around the world you'll be please with the rest of the songs. I would say that "She's thunderstorm" and "Black treacle" are a couple of great tracks where the Monkeys sound really comfortable on what they play. Now from track 8 on (from "Reckless serenade" to "That's where you're wrong") you'll just listen pure 60's sound in every single song. My personal favorite is "Piledriver waltz". This song has a fresh and exciting vibe of a pure pop song that for only God knows why it reminds me to The Smiths.

"Suck it and see" is not a "rock come back" from the Arctic Monkeys for all those fans who have whinned about that this record is a dissapoinment. The beauty of any good band (recalling "The Cure and Radiohead" here as the FINEST examples) is that it can be able to change styles and go back and forth in one way or another in every album it's been released. Now if fans aren't able to understand and to adapt to that then they were never fans at all of the band itself. Just a bunch of kids who felt in love with a song or an album at the moment. Just like a crush a guy or a girl can have for whoever is found in their way but the nezt day this person is meant to be forgotten. You know, real appreciation and love is hard to find in people these days wheter we talk about music or anything else. Good job Monkeys!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2011
To record Humbug, Arctic Monkeys headed to the California desert with a slew of incomplete song ideas and the mood to experiment a bit. This time around, the band prepared and tried to perfect their songs at home before traveling to Los Angeles to record. The result is a more immediate album, but also one that may take a few listens to fully appreciate.

The first two songs released off of the album (Brick By Brick and Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair) were quite a misdirection for fans since, besides those two and the jagged Library Pictures, the rest of Suck It And See contains very summer-friendly melodies and choruses. Some of the band's most successful previous singles were more joyful than rocky, and this time around Alex Turner and company seemed to make it a point to perfect that type of sound.

Black Treacle, Reckless Serenade, title track Suck It And See, and closer That's Where You're Wrong will likely hook you quicker than anything they've recorded since Flourescent Adolescent. The aforementioned "heavier" songs (though they still roll out at a pace much slower than the band's older material) work well on the album and provide necessary tempo changes.

Track-for-track, this is likely the Arctic Monkeys' best album to date, providing twelve songs that range from fun to spectacular, and absolutely no filler. The only complaint I have is the fact that I like the Submarine OST recording of Piledriver Waltz a bit more than this album version, but it's still very good in its own right. While listening to Suck It And See, you'll likely realize that this is a band that is fine-tuning its skill set and using all of the tricks they've learned so far to create some wonderful music. Can't wait to see where they go next.
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