Track Review: Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”

[Domino; 2013]

Even in your early twenties, there are some prospects that just make you feel old. Album number five from a band you grew up with as a teenager is one of them. Just over two years after the release of Suck It And See, Arctic Monkeys are poised to drop their follow-up. After debuting “Do I Wanna Know” at several shows on their current North American tour, the Sheffield foursome released the studio version in the wee hours of Wednesday morning with no notice.

Centered on a brawny, undulating riff and glam-styled percussive thuds, it’s one of the most restrained pieces Arctic Monkeys have ever offered. It’s a cynical love song, driven as much by anxiety as desire. The occasionally maligned Americanization of their sound continues, with a few exceptions: “You ever get the feel that you can’t shift the tide that sticks around like summat in your teeth?” asks singer Alex Turner, hamming up his accent. Touchstones from “R U Mine” are present yet again, namely the falsetto call-and-response from drummer Matt Helders and a sense of gloom and gravity behind the guitar lead. When the twang syncs up with the melody at the chorus, the results are infectious. This one has Josh Homme’s fingerprints all over it, right down to the “Go With the Flow”-inspired music video.