ARC­TIC MON­KEYS

All grown up with places to go.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - SAM KEL­TON

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.

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