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CD Review: Arctic Monkeys

Humbug (Domino)

Those expecting the third album from the Arctic Monkeys to simply rehash the post-punk dance-floor fodder of their first two albums will be disappointed. Humbug retains singer Alex Turner's distinctive vocals and the signature angular guitars. But many songs travel into new musical territory. "Dangerous Animals" features a propulsive staccato delivery as Turner yelps, "You should have racing stripes/The way you keep me in pursuit," while "Dance Little Liar" approaches psychedelic, eschewing edgy beats for atmospheric sound and muffled vocals. "Crying Lightening" is typical Arctic Monkeys — Turner makes obvious rhymes in his pronounced British accent as the song becomes more frenetic and the chorus' hook kicks in. Because it's so schizophrenic, Humbug isn't exactly a direct evolution from 2007's raucous Favourite Worst Nightmare. But it reveals some new facets of Arctic Monkeys' musical personality. The album's best moment comes when Turner shrieks, "What came first, the chicken or the dickhead?" on "Pretty Visitors." That lyric alone has to count for something. — Emily Zemler

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