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Published Sep. 10, 2009

So how did the Arctic Monkeys go from sounding like the Strokes and the Stooges to Jim Morrison and Morrissey? Was it the constant stumbling through London bars? Was it the new reign of Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme as producer? Was it the relocation from little ol' England to the Mojave Desert? The answer is yes, to all of it.

The Monkeys have made a music evolution, perfectly demonstrating the theory of survival of the fittest. But have no fear, loyal Monkeys fans, their roots are in the right place.

The more and more singer Alex Turner stumbles and falls, the higher and higher the snarky choruses grow. They are the kind of songs that pull you in, spit you out and hold guitar solos that you find only in your dreams.

Their new songs are filled with 007 beats that make you want to crawl out of your skin - for the better. The Jeweller's Hands and My Propeller are the most smooth and ready for Bond action. Turner's voice sounds like it's in the belly of the beast at one moment and Lennon in Abbey Road the next.

Tracks like Secret Door and Potion Approaching show the early makings of a volatile relationship. Their cool California beats try to rebel against the Beach Boys and end up sounding like the Beatles. Cornerstone is left out, being the only love song without massive hints of obsession. After that track, all hell breaks loose with mumbling lyrics of revenge.

The highlight track is Crying Lightning. The guitars are strummed at peculiar moments, creating a Wonka-factory-gone-wrong atmosphere. To keep Turner's misery going, I would like to advise all pub owners in England to keep the drinks coming.

Rachel Lubitz, Countryside High

GRADE: * * * *