Arctic Monkeys may change their sound, but they're consistently good

Arctic Monkeys will come to Raleigh's Red Hat Amphitheater in support of “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino," their sixth studio album. Here's how the group has evolved since their debut.
Arctic Monkeys will come to Raleigh's Red Hat Amphitheater in support of “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino," their sixth studio album. Here's how the group has evolved since their debut.

It’s tempting to repeat yourself in the music business, particularly after achieving success.

Not long after the Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” dropped in 2006, the British media anointed the Sheffield band as the next big thing.

The quartet’s debut album, which includes a number of visceral rockers, went platinum, and the Arctic Monkeys became the most prominent band in England since Oasis. The combination of angular riffs, unbridled intensity and laddie subject matter — beers, girls and debauchery — enabled the band to soar.

A month after the album was released, the Arctic Monkeys showcased at South By Southwest. Vocalist-guitarist Alex Turner could have passed for a teenage Bill Belichick belting out the hits under the cover of a hoodie at the late, lamented club La Zona Rosa.

But much has changed, and like some of the best bands to emerge from England over the last generation, including Radiohead, Blur and Pulp, the Arctic Monkeys have evolved dramatically.

“Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino," their sixth studio album, was released May 11. And about all the long-awaited album has in common with the debut album is that The Strokes are name-checked on both. The New York-based band was an obvious influence throughout the band's initial release.

The Arctic Monkeys have evolved as a live act as well. During the band’s last tour, Turner worked the crowd like he was a nightclub singer. Turner, 32, was dancing along the stage with a big pompadour. He may seem a little young to play it like a lounge MC but he and his bandmates have been music mainstays for a dozen years.

Here's a look at the band's changes since their early beginnings and a primer to some of the songs that may be heard when they play June 16 at Raleigh's Red Hat Amphitheater.

2008: The Arctic Monkeys don’t repeat albums or chase trends. With “Favourite Worst Nightmare,” which was released in 2008, the band moved away from garage rock. The tunes are more thoughtful, but remain catchy. It’s always impressive when a band can create a strong, consistent album that is the follow up to a debut monster.

2009: “Humbug” is the first true surprise by the Arctic Monkeys. The release is comprised of stoner rock. Queens of the Stone Age frontman and the Godfather of the subgenre Josh Homme added some psychedelic elements to the Arctic Monkeys sonic attack.

2011: “Suck It and See” was a surprising changeup. Turner and his bandmates, guitarist Jamie Cook, drummer Matt Helders and bassist Nick O’Malley, slipped in some ballads. The songs are deeper and offer a few surprises.

2013: “AM” is full of agreeable, sturdy pop-rock. “R U Mine” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” hit the charts and are still in rotation on satellite radio.

2018: "Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino" signals yet another stylistic shift. The album is a sprawling, loungy affair, which requires repeated spins to digest. It’s a swinging party, but it's going to take some fans aback. Give the Arctic Monkeys credit for sticking its collective neck out.


Who: The Arctic Monkeys

When: 8 p.m. June 16

Where: Red Hat Amphitheater, 500 S. McDowell St., Raleigh

Cost: $65

Info: 919-996-8800 or redhatamphitheater.com