“Humbug” entertains fans without pretense

After two incredibly long and painful years, Britain’s beloved Arctic Monkeys have finally released their third album, “Humbug.”True to form, the new album, out August 25 in the States, is as different from the first two as the albums were from each other.It is obvious that the Arctic Monkeys’ music is maturing and evolving along with the foursome.The music on their new album is darker, accompanied by lyrics that no longer involve social commentary on the band’s working-class upbringing and industrial hometown of Sheffield, England.The Arctic Monkeys’ music has gotten less raw with each incarnation, and it seems as if the band is losing touch with its British roots – an initially attractive group for many devoted fans.Thankfully, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Alex Turner’s strong Yorkshire accent still resonates as powerfully as it has in past albums.The album was recorded in California and produced by Queens of the Stone Age founder and frontman josh Homme — a collaboration that has played a role in the Americanization of the band. Turner’s side project with The Rascals’ Miles Kane, The Last Shadow Puppets, also has clearly influenced his work on Humbug. The Last Shadow Puppets’ album, “The Age of the Understatement,” features a much darker and more dramatic sound than Turner’s usual musical ventures.  Long gone are their days of storytelling about nights out and prostitutes through songs like “From the Ritz to the Rubble” and “When the Sun Goes Down” off the album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.”The group has progressed to more philosophical lyrics that no longer involve the common everyday activities of British youth.Those looking for songs similar to “The View from the Afternoon,” from the group’s first album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” and “Brianstorm,” from their second effort, “Favourite Worst Nightmare,” may be disappointed at the lack of raucous tracks in “Humbug.”However, fans of “Favourite Worst Nightmare’s” gentle “505” will be quite content with tracks like “Cornerstone” and “Fire and the Thud.”Ultimately, Arctic Monkeys have again succeeded incredibly well at providing fans, both old and new, with an interesting and original mix of songs that only improves with multiple plays.Although no massive nightclub hits, like “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” can be found on “Humbug,” it’s easy to envision tunes such as “Crying Lightning” (the album’s first single) playing in bars and pubs across the United Kingdom, Europe and the U.S. as well.