The Car

Oct 19, 2022
Web Exclusive

By Dom Gourlay

For anyone yearning for an Arctic Monkeys record that revisits the “505” or fake tales of San Francisco, you’d probably best look away now. While the era that first put them on the map will always hold a special place in people’s hearts, one thing Arctic Monkeys can never be accused of is living in the past.

Every subsequent release since the band’s debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, came out back in 2006 has strived to open doors into pastures new. Often confounding expectations but never disappointing, and while 2018’s sixth LP, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, strayed away from the heavy guitar led compositions we’d been accustomed to, it also seemed the logical next step for a band that’s long since departed their South Yorkshire roots.

So, with The Car as their preferred vehicle of choice, Alex Turner and co’s next journey is one of heartbreak and reflection, with a soothing undertone and the occasional foray into disco-era David Bowie for good measure. Written and recorded last summer at the height of the European Championships where England narrowly lost on penalties to Italy in the final, The Car is a deftly constructed, lavishly produced, smooth runner of an album that undoubtedly reaffirms Turner as one of the great romantic lyricists of his generation.

Lead single “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” might just be the greatest lament to a fractured relationship that Scott Walker didn’t write. While the haunting “Big Ideas” talks about “The ballad what could have been” over a poignant orchestral backdrop. “Sculptures of Anything Goes” takes aim at an unnamed subject (“Puncturing your own relatability, with your horrible new sound”) over icy synths and drum codas reminiscent of the Ultravox classic “Vienna.”

“I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am”—already a live favorite despite only being part of the set for a handful of shows—furrows the same wah-wah funk heaven as Bowie and Nile Rodgers did on “Let’s Dance.” “Hello You” also takes inspiration from the same era, fusing overwrought synths with swooping strings as Turner delivers his most self-reflective paean (“Hello gruesome, there’s just enough time left to swing by and readdress the start”).

As the title track and introspective “Mr Schwartz” continues The Car’s lovelorn message unabated, closing number “Perfect Sense” bravely declares, “Revelations or your money back.” Nevertheless, it’s a satisfying ride worthy of a return ticket many listeners will undoubtedly be repeating over the coming months.

Welcome back Arctic Monkeys, your pensive musings have been greatly missed. (

Author rating: 8/10

Rate this album

Average reader rating: 6/10

No ratings have been recorded yet.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *