The phrase ‘Big LA Record’ has been hovering around Arctic Monkeys in the build-up to the release of their fifth studio album AM (due to be released at the start of next month), after ‘R U Mine’ and ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ made it clear that the band have moved into a slicker, moodier and altogether more transatlantic image.

The leaked track that is rumoured to be the next single, ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ does nothing to suggest otherwise. Matt Helders’ (once again) immaculate drumming which opens the track sounds straight from the West Coast and, mixed with the faint siren-like sound of fingers sliding up the fret board and then a riff à la early Eminem, betrays the Sheffield group’s admiration for hip hop and its now undeniable influence on them, whether conscious or not.

Guitar music fans need not worry, however. The final third of the track introduces some big chords and yet another chorus you can sing along too, as well as a walking guitar solo; we are taken from funky to anthemic in just under three minutes.

Alex Turner’s lyrics are once again brilliant. They are understated, simple and emotive. As much as his song writing has matured, this is not the music from the head that some are suggesting it is; this is music from the gut.

Arctic Monkeys are the best band in Britain today, mainly due to their remarkable ability to reinvent themselves yet feel more familiar to listeners with every album they release. ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ is a prime example of this glorious contradiction, and everybody should be very excited for AM.

As previously mentioned, the new track was ‘leaked’ online and is no longer available as Warner Music Group stomp their feet in anger. If you’ve not heard the track already, I’m afraid it’s a waiting game until the album release. We won’t make you leave empty hand though, here’s Do I Wanna Know.

David Taylor

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