It was somewhere between the third or fourth drunken drumbeat on opener - and second single - "Do I Wanna Know?" when I realised the Arctic Monkeys' fifth album was going to be good. Like, really good. As naughty as that house party you shouldn't have had, and as cool as Ferris Bueller about it. (Actually, it might have been when the guitar-line burst through the french windows on "R U Mine?", swigging arrogantly from its can of Red Stripe. I don't really know. It's quite hazy now.)
We'd had hints along the way that AM was going to be a barnstormer. In February 2012, the aforementioned swagger of "R U Mine?" dropped into our lives akin to a weekend back in your hometown; unexpected, riotous, and worthy of one thousand hangovers. Then came a tweet from drummer Matt Helder's mother...and they were back.
At least twelve months in production - and well over two years since their previous outing with Suck It And See - this was the longest gap between albums since the band's inception. But it's well worth the wait, obviously.
The three singles - the third being "Why D'You Only Call Me When You're High?", stumbling across the grass to be sick in next door's hedge - are fresh, even on their seventy-fourth listen. As for the album tracks? Single-worthy, each and every one of them. Blistering, either in their sparseness or their pomp.
AM finds itself simultaneously copping off with the ex at the same time as texting its three new female targets; tight basslines, tighter drumbeats and Alex Turner's sultry tones making both things possible in the world built up around these dark, deep tracks. If "Arabella" is the woman we've always wanted, "No. 1 Party Anthem" is where we've found ourselves, 'Leather jacket collar popped like Cantona/Never knowing when to stop', in search of her.
Future singles "Snap Out Of It" and "Knee Socks" compliment one another perfectly, Turner finding his higher notes on the former and losing his 'sky blue Lacoste' on the latter. The songs (again, like that house party) ooze sex, discovery, lust and longing, from the urge to 'grab both shoulders and shake, baby' to getting 'hold of the sweet spot, by the scruff of your/Knee socks'.
Though, the standout track here has to be the closer. In a spectacular collision of events, a moment of true genius has been found. First off, Alex Turner has always shown to have an affinity with Sheffield-based beat poet John Cooper Clarke; alongside this, Arctic Monkeys have always been good at closing an album - from Whatever People Say I Am...'s "A Certain Romance" to Favourite Worst Nightmare's "505"; hell, even "That's Where You're Wrong" was bloody decent. The band's reworking of Cooper Clarke's poem of the same name, "I Wanna Be Yours" is equal parts haunting and unforgettable.
With drumbeats and guitar hooks akin to those from Led Zeppelin (see: "Arabella") alongside basslines and harmonics that come from The Chronic (see: everything), the evolution and inspiration of the band is evident; gone are the days of the 'awkward third album' in Humbug; out with the marginally immature lyricism of the first two albums. In taking time over AM, realising their strengths as a band and making a solid album in these modern times of short-term fame - Arctic Monkeys have shown they're here 'til the party's over.
Pass the tequila.