Arctic Monkeys
The Car


3.8
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
October 22nd, 2022 | 84 replies


Release Date: 10/21/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I'm behind my movie camera, I've got my megaphone

A word thrown around a lot in the run-up to the release of The Car was 'grounded'. It's an easy word to grasp, I suppose, especially in relation to the spacey sci-fi wanderings of Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, The Car ostensibly being its down-to-earth, even-keeled counterpart. Even the austere, desolate album cover of The Car – shot by drummer Matt Helders on a film camera in Los Angeles, in stark contrast to Tranquility Base's handmade design - screams that this album is a serious anchoring of its predecessor's wilder impulses.

And yet: The Car makes Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino sound like an easy ride. That album's departure from the AM sound, so delightfully unexpected in 2018, sounds a little rote after "Sculptures of Anything Goes" kicks off with a menacing trip-hop drone that's so far afield of anything Arctic Monkeys have done you can't help but laugh. The Car continues to surprise from there, with a second-half switchup to guitars and a stadium hook in "Body Paint" ranking among the band's finest moments, and a welcome folky tint to "The Car" and "Mr Schwartz" which feels as if Alex Turner has been consulting Nick Drake's Bryter Layter. The Bond-esque ballad "Big Ideas" even feels like a cheeky nod to Radiohead's aspirations to the same title, with a self-reflective tint that would be funny if it wasn't so heartbreaking; lines like "the orchestra's got us all surrounded / and I cannot for the life of me remember how they go" providing plenty of fodder for the people who still believe Turner has his bandmates at gunpoint, forcing them to play lounge music instead of making another Favourite Worst Nightmare.

Appropriately, the lyrics are less idiosyncratically quotable than last time around – no "I just wanted to be one of The Strokes" here – but more deeply felt, a continuation of the more personal tone struck on the sadly overlooked b-side "Anyways". Maybe that's the source of the 'grounded' descriptor that otherwise doesn't really apply to The Car. Then again, the album as a whole feels more like a full-band effort, the product of the four fellas jamming out in a room, as opposed to Tranquility Base's lingering feeling of Turner demos being reworked and overdubbed. Arctic Monkeys' chemistry as a unit has always been their strongest asset, whether they're playing spacey lounge pop or rollicking indie bangers, and it's nice to hear that energy come through more even on a grab bag of styles which sacrifices some of the cohesion that made its predecessor work. Some experiments just don't work, in the case of the limp funk snoozer "Jet Skis on the Moat" or underwhelming closer "Perfect Sense", but The Car is crackling with a wickedly fun energy underneath the surface of its mid-tempo mugging, if you're willing to take the commute and meet it halfway.



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user ratings (153)
3.1
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nuggets611
October 22nd 2022


35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review.



For me, The Car is a marked improvement and evolution upon TBHC, which I enjoyed after a bit of perseverance. I’m glad the wider band had more involvement, as the instrumentals and the established “vibe” makes the album all the more better for it. The sweeping Bacharach strings are a welcome addition throughout.



I feel this album, like the last, is a grower and my score could possibly jump to a 4.5.



Notable tracks for me are “Sculptures of Anything Goes” (a left-field trip hop/industrial NIN homage) and a sound I hope they’ll elaborate on the next album. “Body Paint” is my favourite on the record. “Big Ideas” and “Hello You” are also enjoyable experiences too.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2022


17720 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review row. still not sure how i feel about this one. it's definitely worse than tranquillity base, i know that much, but it hasn't quite settled with me yet.

StickFeit
October 22nd 2022


2148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

These lads keep on getting better (starting from last decade). Love the change in direction.

gryndstone
October 22nd 2022


2443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Like this a bunch more then the last, but it's also making me think I ought to revisit the last. This does go in a lot of little directions that are entertaining though

rabidfish
October 22nd 2022


8091 Comments


This is much more consistent than TBHC

rodrigo90
October 22nd 2022


7387 Comments


Do what Arctic Monkeys do, not what Coldplay and Muse are doing since the 2010's

rodrigo90
October 22nd 2022


7387 Comments


This is much more consistent than TBHC

I wanted them to keep that prog rock approach in their lyrics but oh well....

IsildursBane44
October 22nd 2022


747 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Wow, Alex channels so much Scott Walker. He might not always sell it, but to see one of the biggest "rock bands" around doing something this out there is a treat.

EoinCofa
October 22nd 2022


785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is their best (to me). The hooks are not present, but I find it to be fantastic. This deserves a sophisticated cocktail with my third listen. I think I will back it with The Antlers - Familiars, which has consistent pacing with great brass instrumentation.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2022


23920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not looking forward to this tbh

rabidfish
October 23rd 2022


8091 Comments


Then don't... It's so much more better when u just ignore shit u know you ain't gonna like

notagenius
October 23rd 2022


1178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gosh, I love it. very much so. The only pity is that Turner's tone and technique isn't enough to push it to its maximum grandeur. so close to being perfect.





notagenius
October 23rd 2022


1178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listened again and deducted 0.5 further. these vocals actually hurt. :[

WhiteNoise
October 23rd 2022


3838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

“Do what Arctic Monkeys do, not what Coldplay and Muse are doing since the 2010's”



This so much. That recent muse album was a nightmare.

notagenius
October 23rd 2022


1178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

heck, hate to say so, but Alex's performance and control in his upper register is largely amateurish. It's simply become a hard sell that now prevents me from fully appreciating this album.

BigPleb
October 23rd 2022


65400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There's occasions where he definitely overdoes it, few and far between though.

rabidfish
October 23rd 2022


8091 Comments


He got better, tbh. Frankly the problem is now he honestly thinks he can pull off this "singing for real" act.

Mort.
October 23rd 2022


21311 Comments


foxxy spotted. sound the alarm.

Gyromania
October 23rd 2022


35778 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This is surprisingly highly rated on meta. Gonna check it

Gyromania
October 23rd 2022


35778 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Wtf was that opener? What happened to these guys since AM?



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