Has Matt Helders Got Off the Bandwagon?

Arctic Monkeys’ sixth album, ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel + Casino’ comes five, long-awaited years after ‘AM’, which shot to number one in the UK charts on its release in 2013. Since then, their time away from the limelight seems to have mellowed the overall sound of their new album. They’ve done away with the rocky tone seen on all their previous albums, more content now with the classic sound of a Steinway piano; blimey, have they already reached that age?

400 arctic monkey finger
Arctic Monkeys give the finger to their old rock vibe

To keep in line with the mellow atmosphere, Matt Helders appears to have put the drumsticks aside; or at least toned it down, bobbing back every now and again for the backing vocals. I’d have expected this tone more from The Last Shadow Puppets than Arctic Monkeys, and I believe it’s the slower, uncharacteristic drumming from Helders, which makes this comparison more understandable; quite unlike the drumming in ‘The View from the Afternoon’ for instance. The quiet, muffled singing from Alex Turner also places this album more in line with something that The Last Shadow Puppets would produce, reverting back to sounding more like himself in his solo album ‘Submarine’. Overall, it creates a very spaced-out, subdued atmosphere, but perhaps they didn’t want to disturb the guests at Tranquillity Base Hotel.

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Can you spot the Tranquillity Base from here?

It is only in the song ‘She Looks Like Fun’ that the album has any similarities to their previous music, with a similar guitar chord start and vocals to ‘Brick by Brick’ from the 2011 album, ‘Suck It and See’. There’s also a glimmer of their previous rocky style in ‘Golden Trunks’, although admittedly this does sound a little out of place.

Overall however, and in the words of Arctic Monkeys, I give the album a ‘Four Out Of Five’. The album has really started to grow on me over the last couple of days, from before where I was a little uncertain of the new dynamic.

Review © Dalton Wells; image of Matt Helders © Paul Familetti


Music journo Dalton Wells reckons he looks good on the dancefloor.

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