Single Review: Arctic Monkeys – ‘Body Paint’, ‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’

In the build-up to a long awaited new record, The Arctic Monkeys don’t disappoint, returning with two new epic ballads. The most recent being ‘Body paint’, succeeding ‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’. 

As a single, ‘Body Paint’ encumbers an iridescent shimmer that is navigated throughout the track. As the track starts, listeners are introduced to some bright piano tones which lend themselves to a customary evolved sound. Matt Helders’ methodical drumming is especially impressive, staying reflectively paced throughout the track. This element provides the perfect spotlight for Turner’s swooping vocals, in which he lyrically accommodates a witty insight into personal relationships. Turner uses some classical intuition to tell this tale – “For a master of deception and subterfuge. You’ve made yourself quite the bed to lie in”. 

‘Body Paint’ swoops through the ears and conveys itself as a slick ballad wrapped in crunchy guitars, this time evoking shades of the band’s earlier sound – songs such as ‘Star Treatment’ and ‘One Point perspective’ spring to mind. This time however they’re advanced by a beautiful string arrangement that simply oozes charm. The vocal mix, with it’s airy falsetto tones, is embellished by the desert-rock distortion rung from the neck of Jamie Cook’s lead guitar. On top of this, the lyrical content is dressed up in smooth elegance as it’s delivered in the warm ice tone of Alex Turner’s voice.

The general feeling surrounding this release is striking. It’s as if after filming the ‘Why’d you always call me when your high’ video, Mr. Turner wandered into an after-hours premise (reminiscent of the famous Star Wars Cantina). Turner liked the premise so much that he and Miles Kane thought it’d be right to sell the new AM album to the late-night lounge, in hopes that it would provide mellow backing music (which originated from discussions about rebirthing the 70s), to accompany the punters. That’s just speculation, but what is undeniable is that the Arctic Monkeys have redefined their newfound musical style, which is now comprised of imperious ballads.  

Photo: Zackery Michael