"I had big ideas, the band were so excited, the kind you’d rather not share over the phone," Alex Turner sings midway through Arctic Monkeys' seventh album. "But now the orchestra’s got us all surrounded and I cannot for the life of me remember how they go." For those wishing that the Arctic Monkeys 2018 album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino was a quick vacation before returning to the arena rock grandeur of AM, you're out of luck. They've extended their stay, gotten comfortable and called in redecorators. Or as bassist Nick O’Malley told MOJO, “It’s definitely not just four people playing indie music any more.”
The Car is even more luxuriously loungey than Tranquility Base, trading in synthesizers for an actual string section that surrounds them on nearly all 10 of the album's songs. “Rather than strings on top of rock,” Turner told The Guardian, “I was interested in switching the ‘rock band’ bit on and off.” There are swooping discotheque strings and soulful orchestra hits, but most of The Car is dripping with autumnal violins and cello that ache of regret, heartbreak and melancholy.