Arctic Monkeys - 'Crying Lightning'
In all the noise and mess surrounding the return of the Arctic Monkeys - a perfectly poised Culture Show appearance here, a brilliant 7" release through Oxfam there, endless tales of them recording their new album 'Humbug' under a strange dome in the desert with Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age EVERYWHERE, it's easy to forget that they started out as just a bunch of mates with guitars, who decided to get together and make music as a way of passing the time, and happened to end up being really good at it.
It's going to get progressively harder too, as they're no longer that same gang. Changes have occurred, strange forces have been at work, there's talk of alchemy, of glowing charms, of shady pacts and supernatural incantations. Beards have been grown, and then lost overnight, as if by (whisper it) magic.
So, against this Harry Potteresque backdrop, you'd be wise to cling to this one central question: What is the new Arctic Monkeys single really like?
Well, it's like a bitter, unwell, woozy cousin of that 'Fake Tales Of San Francisco' sardonic guitar/funk thing, but with 'Brianstorm's explosive dynamics, and Alex Turner sounding worn to a frazzle, but flinty-eyed and angry.
(Here's the video. Best use of a pipe in a popular music promo EVAH.)
It's like the condensed boredom of a shady afternoon, drinking lumpy tea and waiting for someone you don't know in a grotty cafe, in an Edwardian nightmare fairground, out of season, in the rain, forever.
It's like being poked in the chest repeatedly by a late-teens Artful Dodger from Sheffield with mirrors for eyes and a black hole where his soul should be. He sees everything, his eyes as sharp as his sticky fingers, and nothing can ever come to any good in his dark, dark world.
It's like settling down in a rollercoaster car and noticing, just as the bar comes down to lock over your chest, that you're sitting in a pile of chipped paint and rotten wood, it's wet with some dark liquid that looks suspiciously like blood. No-one hears you complain as the car moves away.
It's like being in the military parade in Moscow's Red Square - as directed by Tim Burton - and there's a giant wasp in dusty military uniform buzzing over the brass band. The army are trying to shoot it, they even bring in a tank, but it misfires, blowing one of the onion domes off the church of St Olafs.
Most of all, it is like a band who were always older than their years, and greater than the sum of their parts, becoming more mature and getting better into the bargain. And just because they're not looking at the goings-on of their hometown with a vinegary eye any more, it doesn't make their songs any less gritty or real.
Now hold tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride.