Review: Arctic Monkeys – ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’

arcticmonkeys4Next month, the Arctic Monkeys will release the second single from their critically-acclaimed fourth album ‘Suck it and See’ – ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’.

On first listen, the track seems an unessential, possibly odd choice of single to follow the guttural rock-out of ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ – it trades the blatant chuggery and distortion of that song for a more reflective, even jangly vibe. However, it soon becomes apparent that this song can be filed in the ‘real grower’ category; a great soundtrack to the small amount of summer we have left.

After starting with a brief Radiohead-style intro of guitars being plugged in and drumsticks being picked up, the track falls into a pleasant meld of trippy, stuttering drum patterns and jangly, laid back guitars. Rather than ripping into any riffage, the instrumental seems content to lay a soft, summery bed for Alex Turner’s chilled vocal.

Throughout the verses and middle eight, the trademark sharp lyrics of the boy Turner are in evidence, “Home sweet home sweet booby-trap”  is a nice example, but the chorus, like so many of the best choruses, has no lyrics, wallowing instead in the sweet refrain of “Shalalala” that will  surely provoke accompaniment sooner or later.

The track proves Alex and the boys are continuing to progress away from their original ‘Out on the lash in a provincial English City’ stance towards a more serious, solid and ultimately higher-standard of guitar-pop songs. To be developing so well and continuing to turn out gems like this on their 4th album bodes well for the Monkeys, and it seems certain they will be a huge part of this country’s music culture in the long run.

Read our full ‘Suck It and See’ review, and check out the video here.

(David Page)

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