It doesn't matter how many times we hear it, how much the hype grows, how many hip producers get involved or just how much money they generate for Oxfam (which should, admittedly, be applauded): The Arctic Monkeys continue to spectacularly fail to do anything for BlackPlastic.
The problem is that this is music that just feels like it has no real ideas. The praise heaped upon Alex Turner and his band would suggest that they cured cancer but re-visit their first two albums and it seems much more likely that they simply managed to collectively a paint-by-numbers... but everyone got so excited that they failed to notice. Have you listened to 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' lately? Embarrassing, no?
It's not that there is no talent or merit here. Turner's The Last Shadow Puppets side-project was genuinely interesting but sadly there is no danger here - it all feels far too safe. There are no real risks and no invention. Compared to Queens of the Stone Age (whose Josh Homme co-produces here together with James Ford), the White Stripes, hell - even Franz Ferdinand's last album shines like a beacon is sheer experimentation next to this. The trademark razor-wire lyrics may be here but BlackPlastic can't make out the songs from the drudgery they so frequently attempt to portray.
When people continuously comment on the Arctic Monkey's Sheffield background BlackPlastic can't help but fall into a spasm inducing fit of rage. This is a city that has been responsible for some great bands - Pulp, Heaven 17 and Human League. If the Arctic Monkeys have always left you cold Humbug won't change your mind. Do yourself (and Sheffield) a favour and go and listen to one of the aforementioned bands instead - we would recommend Human League's pioneering remix album Love & Dancing, made by cutting up and sticking together the recordings manually. Now that was invention. That took guts.