Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner recently offered fans an insight into the stylistic evolution of their forthcoming album, AM. Arguably the biggest guitar band left in the UK, any information relating to their fifth album is big news. In an interview with the NME, Turner attempted to describe the sound of their new material. ‘It sounds like a Dr Dre beat, but we’ve given it an Ike Turner bowl-cut and sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster.’ Continuing, he explained that they wanted to experiment with the tracks and hoped they would sound ‘less like four lads playing in a room this time.’
‘Essentially, that’s what it is, but if you can find a way to manipulate the instruments or the sounds to the point where it sounds a bit like a hip-hop beat that’d be boss in your car, then I think there’s something quite cool about that.’ Despite their enhanced funkiness, Turner says, ‘What I realize now is that, whatever we try, it always sounds like Arctic Monkeys.’ The band embraces their legacy but are also keen to follow their experimental instincts in the future. Turner explained to Q Magazine, ‘After our first LP, I don’t think we knew where we were going to go. We were never going to be a boring indie band. We were going to explore.’
Arctic Monkeys’ producer James Ford confirms that the band sought to ‘push things on and do something different.’ Ford, who is half of the electronic group Simian Mobile Disco, has recorded all of the band’s material since 2006. He also worked with Turner on the Last Shadow Puppets album and the soundtrack to the film Submarine. AM, Arctic Monkeys’ fifth studio album, was co-produced by James Ford and Ross Orton in Los Angeles.
Speaking to the NME, Ford revealed that the goal of the last Arctic Monkeys album, 2011’s Suck It And See, was to try ‘a ‘band in a room’ type thing, with barely any computers used.’ The raw, vintage style of the album garnered mostly positive reviews. It debuted at number one in the UK charts and netted four singles. The recording of AM, however, was quite different. ‘To move it on and make it sound different, we were very open to using bits of keyboards or drum machines, or whatever worked for the song really.’ He agrees that some of the songs have a ‘slightly strange hip-hop, slight R&B sense to some of the melodies and structures.’ The Sheffield band cited Dr Dre’s work around 2000 as a big influence for the album. The band vouches for its R&B vibe: ‘It definitely borrows elements from the world of Outkast and Aaliyah.’
AM will be released on September 9 by Domino Records. The album features contributions from Queens of the Stoneage frontman Josh Homme; Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ drummer Pete Thomas; and Bill Ryder-Jones, previously of the Coral.
Fans were recently treated to a glimpse at the new album. Check out the official video for ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ below.