All grown up with places to go.
THEY were kids who looked good on the dance floor and even better in the charts. Now all grown up, Arctic Monkeys have taken their biggest risk yet with the album Suck It And See.
‘‘ It feels like a point that we’ve reached now,’’ frontman Alex Turner says casually.
Many have described this point as the ‘‘ maturing’’ of Britain’s hottest band of the past five years. Turner tends to agree but, in simpler terms, he wanted Suck It And See to be ‘‘ about the songs’’.
‘‘ The last two records, it’s been a bit more ‘ make it up as you go along’,’’ he says, ‘‘ which was good and right for those albums, but this time I thought it was important to try something a bit different.
‘‘ We spent a few months, the four of us, in a room in London together working out the structures of the songs. When we got to Los Angeles, everybody knew the songs and it came down to the performance and dialling in the right sounds.
‘‘ Sonically, I’m really happy with how the record sounds. ‘‘ It’s warm and it’s more subtle.’’ Turner compares the process of knowing the songs back to front before recording them, to making the band’s blistering debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – once the fastestselling debut album in UK chart history.
‘‘ The only other time we’ve made a record like this is with the first one. Because we’d been on tour playing those songs, well some of them, for 18 months before we recorded them,’’ he says.
‘‘ So we knew them and it was just about capturing the moment.’’
In fact, that successful debut taught Turner a few things.
‘‘ We listened to that album for the first time in about five years before working on this album,’’ he says.
‘‘ I really enjoyed hearing it and I actually got a couple of things out of it by playing it back. One of them is there is no way we could sound like that any more.’’
That doesn’t mean Turner and his band of Sheffield lads – guitarist Jamie Cook, bassist Nick O’Malley and drummer Matt Helders – don’t enjoy playing the older hits for their fans.
‘‘ I look forward to playing that tune, by no means is it a chore,’’ he says of their huge single I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. ‘‘ You get bands that aren’t friends with their hits but I get a buzz off playing that, for sure.’’
Just weeks before the release of Suck It And See, Turner ticked yet another item off his career to-do list – debuting solo recordings as the soundtrack for the indie film Submarine.
‘‘ What was good about that was it was a sort of practice for the new album,’’ he says. Turner’s Submarine songs were strippedback efforts.
‘‘ In some cases it’s just me sitting around one microphone with acoustic guitars and that was the recording,’’ he says.
‘‘ It was so sparse that the song really had to stand up. That’s something I wanted the songs on this new album to prescribe to as well. They work without any bells and whistles.’’
While it’s had a positive effect on his band, Turner claims he’s not yet ready to tackle a full solo record. A surer bet is another Last Of The Shadow Puppets album – after Turner’s 2007 collaboration with The Rascals’ Miles Kane.
‘‘ I’m not thinking I want to do a solo album, really,’’ he says. ‘‘ Not now and not for a while. ‘‘ As for the Puppets, we’d love to write again some day but Miles has his album out and I’ve got this one, so I don’t think it’s going to be imminent. But we’d love to do another one of them.’’
Suck It And See ( Domino/ EMI) out now
GROWN UP: Nick O’Malley, Matt Helders, Alex Turner and Jamie Cook from Arctic Monkeys.