The British have a habit of crowning a few too many acts as rock's Next Big Thing, but sometimes they get it right. Back in 2006, the 21-and-under lads of Arctic Monkeys were the top Brit It band; now the hype belongs to young upstarts the 1975.
The Monkeys sound like they're fine with that. Five albums in, they may not be a buzz band anymore, but they've become something much more interesting: a good band. The dance-floor-ready post-punk of their early days has matured into a meatier, more assured sound the kind that attracted Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, who's worked with them since 2008. He helps out here, but he doesn't have to; led by Alex Turner's cocksure vocals, AM mixes Velvet Underground melodies, Black Sabbath riffs, and playful grooves, and has fun doing it.A-