What did you expect from the Arctic Monkeys on AM? A keen slice of Homme-helmed stoner rock that desperately screams 'we've grown up okay' and matured like a fine bottle of Henderson's Relish like their two previous efforts, Humbug and Suck It And See?

They were just acting out though - you know in that way that child stars do when they want to be taken seriously. Some twerk, others grow their hair, get famous girlfriends and toy with odd 'fuck the fan base' soundscapes. Or maybe AM would mark the end of this awkward phase and herald the return of the Arctic Monkeys, 'we the people' love the most. Recent polls suggest that every European country that matters think it's British to get mindlessly drunk all of the time, so why not have an official spokes-group? Paul Weller's not up for it anymore, Miles Kane is Paul Weller (with an impossibly shitter hair cut), so why not the Monkeys? Birds, beers and bouncers, so LETS FUCKING 'AVE IT… whatever 'it' is.

AM is none of this though. Easy it may be to suggest that this record harks back to an older more glorious time, but it's braver than this. Safe to say, this album isn't for those shameful misanthropists waiting for the band to not just trip but fall flat on their face into an unassuming pile of doggy do do. This isn't their 'I hate being famous record', so until then, go listen to Trent Reznor do something all dark and self-important. Still, it's probably "oh too soon, too fucking soon!" to say this, but in 20 years time, AM will probably a footnote of history. Not because it's not good, but because it's not self important.

Their debut allegedly saved British music from *insert here*, and Humbug marked that awkward moment when artists divert from their prophecy and do something different. For them, it'll be important because it's about their legacy. It's tough looking back and thinking, 'we sparked a mediocre fad that spawned the likes of Milburn and Little Man Tate and other really awful shit', or to flick through the channels and see that some girl called Lucy Spraggan picked up a guitar and auditioned on X Factor "because of me". A tainted legacy is a legacy at least, but it'll stop you from looking at yourself in the mirror.

AM is inspired - it's them being artists, not kids playing instruments. They've turned away from their pre and post Homme legacy, and gone a way not even R&B's closest thing to a clairvoyant Charlie Wilson could see. They've gone for something more refined and while it may upset you Doc Marten wearing, Red Stripe sipping, B&H puffing indie purists out there - they used R&B as a focal point. In spite of Alex Turner's brylcreem laden hairstyle, we aren't talking Little Richard gyrations but Beyonce booty popping beats and Mike Will Made It 808s.

Excuse my maniacal laughter but it's out of vindication, not malice - R&B, as I've been saying for some time, has inherent worth, even to a traditionally closed off genre like indie music. All these years and you still don't believe me? Ask Alex Turner (and if you don't believe him, then there's just no hope). After a five-year self-imposed embargo on listening to his interviews because he sounded bored, drone like and basically inarticulate, I lifted it and heard him say with gusto and celebration "I was attracted to the architecture of contemporary R&B." Because it's a genre that can be discussed in such esteemed lexicon, and once you start considering it in these terms, you can hear the influence of this genre greatly on AM.

Take 'R U Mine', on the surface it's perhaps the most unabashed garage rock song on the record, but peak beneath the surface just slightly, and melodically it's something that Destiny's Child might have harmonised to if they had been braver. It's a similar, better story on 'Do I Wanna Know?'. Stomping and hook heavy, supported by vocal melodies which see Turner as Reeves and Homme as a Vandella. It almost harps back to that famous image of Turner singing something and then peering back to Helders with a adolescent shyness who'd, right on point, retort back to with vigour and spit. What's different is that it's not a shouting call-and-response, but an enunciated harmonisation that Phil Spector would be proud of if he wasn't so bloody depraved.

Perhaps the most obvious dalliance with sex music is the final track 'I Wanna Be Yours'. Should Turner have had a more powerful, guttural voice, it'd have sounded like something that Beyonce could have reduced to something perhaps more nauseating. This isn't nauseating though, just to be clear. It's endearing, it's a dramedy with puns like "I wanna be your ford cortina, I'll never rust" - and while personal experience with Cortinas does all but verify this claim, I'll leave it for the sake of a good song.

The question naturally follows: is their attempt at integrating R&B into their loveable indie spiel successful? I think it is, not because it's an overt addition but because it's undercover like Harry Potter in the broom cupboard, or that 'uncle' you have that's in jail and no-one will tell you why. They're hidden and shamed but secretly discussed while the midnight oil burns, and change the fabric of the family irrevocably only to be fully uncovered on an episode on Who Do You Think You Are? 50 years from now.

In our case, it sounds like Turner is embarrassed by his dalliance with R&B because though he likes it, he's a bit too 'white' and bit too awkward to pull it off completely. But his plan isn't to emerge as Britain's answer to Robin Thicke, with Jordan and Jodie Marsh parading round in nude colour outfits with Pineapple Dance studios as a backdrop. No, but his addition of contemporary R&B structural elements changed the fabric of the album, ensuring that they didn't make another Whatever People Say… or Favourite Worst Nightmare. The riffs are there in abundance, and Uncle Josh makes an appearance in backing vocals, but there's a distinct R&B lilt here that shouldn't be ignored just because some can't calibrate the mainstream or support its now overdetermined relevance.