From the Scrooge-inspired title, 'Humbug', it seems that the inevitable has happened; Arctic Monkeys have finally grown up. Whatever happened during recording in The Mojave Desert, California with Queens of The Stone Age front man Josh Homme should probably remain there yet judging by their form, their collective balls have dropped and gone are the fresh faces of youth, replaced by long hair and sunglasses.

Opener ‘My Propeller’ still sounds like them but sporadic bursts of drums and a lazy, menacing bassline awards them a zoned out sound that few would have expected. Most evident of all, Turner has adopted a newfound maturity to his own vocals, drawing you in with an inviting, monotone drawl yet his lyrics still include enough euphemisms and innuendos to fill a Blackpool souvenir shop. We can all guess at what he is referring to as his ‘propeller’ yet the insinuations continue into the saucy opening to ‘Crying Lightning' with a lyrical sweet tooth for tongue in cheek filth, only this time the subject matter drawing the nudges and winks are a bag of pick 'n' mix and a gobstopper played to spaghetti western guitar and evermore ominous rhythms. Though compared to ‘Dangerous Animals', the two opening tracks are merely foreplay. With a primal urge implied in an impatient, cheeky riff, the track forcibly gathers momentum before pulverising to a well deserved climax with the memorable line, “Let’s make a mess, lioness”. Steady on.

After the preceding smut, more the excuse for the dreamy, languid ‘Secret Door‘ with Turner now crooning as if reading poetry rather than his own lyrics. Even then his talent means he can still somehow transform throwaway lines into a rapturous chorus. Upping the ante, ‘Potion Approaching’ pushes Turner’s penchant for delivering testing lyrics as few tracks should contain as many tongue-twisters set to reverberating guitar and Matt Helders‘ impressive methodical percussion. According to Turner, his lyrics are evidently more personal on this album than before, if that is indeed the case then he is being somewhat cagey with such ambiguous terms as an ‘ego mechanic‘, no matter how fantastic it sounds. Of increased transparency, ‘The Fire And The Thud’ serenely divulges into the stresses of heartache; the uncertainty and the eventual pain before screeching guitar heralds Alison Mosshart of The Kills (and more recently, The Dead Weather) adding straining backing vocals to Turner’s finesse.

While Arctic Monkeys are renowned for shock and awe indie-pop, it is folly to forget their talent for the sublime as evident in ‘Cornerstone’ with its delicate acoustic guitar and a charming personal narrative centring around Turner’s alluring exploits. The track acts as an exception as their matured sound largely evokes confidence and a cold, foreboding vibe as heard in ‘Dance Little Liar’ with its minimal percussion and Turner’s calm and calculated vocals before another pounding climax belatedly conveys vigour. Sinister indeed as a terror inducing keyboard begins the frightening demeanour of the barmy, stopstart ‘Pretty Visitors’. The track could easily soundtrack a zombie flick, that is until taking a breath and the lyric "What came first, the chicken or the dickhead?" makes itself heard loud and clear. Few bands would include the line, let alone give it star billing. Final track, ‘The Jeweller’s Hands’ acts as a tidy, typical climax featuring evermore gloriously elaborate lyrics and building atmospherics.

While their new sound may endear them for more critical acclaim, their established cheek has grown to an over-confidence, so much so that their previous penchant for memorable, incessantly catchy anthems has been lost in favour of impressive engineering. The point to remember is that the songs themselves display undoubted talent yet too few of them leave a tedious taste in the mouth, as if a singalong chorus would be too easy now. Clearly Arctic Monkeys have grown up and stepped up their game, but at what cost?