Arctic Monkeys – “Crying Lightning”
So what is there left to do after you’ve taken over the world? Do it again? No, that’s boring. Oh, I know! How about showing the world why you’re talented? Yeah, that sounds about right. This must have been the exact conversation between members of the Sheffield, England band Arctic Monkeys upon creating their third album titled Humbug.
If you feel the Arctic Monkeys are untalented and too popular, then this review is not for you. The band not only has great song writing and talent, but they look at their popularity with clear eyes and even mock it. The band have just released their new single, “Crying Lightning.” Back in January, I heard the bootleg of this track from their comeback New Zealand/Australia gigs. They played three other songs, but despite the low quality of the track I remember thinking, “God, I hope this is a single.” Fast forward to four months later and here we are with a studio quality version of “Crying Lightning.”
So what makes this one of the best tracks by the band? Well, anyone, fan or naysayer alike could simply NOT have seen this coming. This track is dark, and not that “my life sucks/everyone hates me/why am I alone?” bullshit; I mean truly dark. The second this song starts you are thrust into a world of disarray but in a very calculated sort of way. The drums are a massive highlight and the guitars are the grandest highlight of the track, a compliment I don’t bestow lightly. The bass line works, but I am so entranced/impressed by the guitars that I barely even care, and this is coming from a bass player!
The lyrics are something no one will get right away but with further listens it’s impossible that they won’t get stuck in your head. The song has the amazing song-writing confidence of Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (first album) and the maturity and power of Favourite Worst Nightmare (second album). So be sure to check it out, and also the release of the band’s third record, Humbug, coming out August 25th. The Arctic Monkeys have proved over and over why they deserve all the fame and respect they have from the media and fans alike, and by the looks of it they’ll continue to receive much more.
Panama Kings – “Toe The Party Line”
Ever hear a song and thought to yourself, “This should be on the radio,” and it wasn’t an insult? Sounds like ages ago when one could do this regularly. But if I had to pick a band to be played to the masses it’d probably have to be Panama Kings. A new band hailing from Ireland, they are one of the major products of the music scene taking place there. The question is: How does a band stand out in a country so wealthy with musicians? They don’t have the ferocity of And So I Watch You From Afar, or the traditional rock style of Fighting With Wire, yet they are as popular as either, because they are massively fun to listen to.
What’s that? Are you gaping while reading this, asking yourself, “What do you mean, FUN?” Let me put it this way, reader; their tunes are very upbeat. Not in the crazy cult way; I’m talking about slick guitars with great synth work. I also happen to be talking about their new single, “Toe the Party Line,” which masterfully hooks you rather than getting stuck furiously in your head (that comes later). The lyrics are catchy and the vocals themselves are never overshadowed by the music. Listening to this track loud is a must and if you’re having a party and find that you only have My Chemical Romance in your iPod…then this is a better alternative. This song is inventive, fun, and certainly makes you want more from the band. And another big plus is that this track is FREE! Yes free! Which means you have no excuse not to download it now so…GO DO THAT!
The Cribs – “We Were Aborted”
(Photo courtesy of The Cribs’ Myspace page)
The Cribs are about to release their fourth album entitled Ignore The Ignorant, which will be the first release they’ll have as a four piece since massive legendary guitarist Johnny Marr (also of Modest Mouse and The Smiths) has joined The Cribs’ Brothers Jarmen to take over the world. I’m sure almost everyone who’s a fan of the band met the announcement of Johnny Marr’s recruitment the same way I did: mixed. I mean, let’s face it, he’s a VERY talented guitar player, but what could he add to something that was already very well off?
This song still retains the amazing song-writing only The Cribs could produce. How does it sound? Well the new (free) downloadable track “We Were Aborted” goes to show us that the band know exactly where they want to be. They use Marr’s extra guitar to great effect. The drums are still amazingly rhythmic and the bass is still a grand highlight.
This track seems to only have vocals by guitarist/vocalist Ryan Jarmen rather than the dual vocals of him and his brother Gary Jarmen (bass/vocals), but I suppose it’s okay to expect that with future tracks. Anyone worried about Marr’s addition will be glad to know that he brings his ‘A’ game but doesn’t try to overshadow the band. He knows he’s in a band and it’s not about him but how the music flows. It’s nice to know that despite the acclaim and amazing addition to their team, The Cribs remain humble and with their eyes on the prize: making good music (also very non-pretentious for an indie band).
The only gripe with this track is that quickly you can tell it does not retain the sing-a-long status of past Cribs songs, but therein lies the maturity of the band. I’m sure some of the tracks will get stuck in our heads, but with more meaning than singing along. The band’s previous record left a big impact on music fans all over the world, and this new song certainly emphasizes that they are ready to do it again.