Are Arctic Monkeys close to releasing their new album? Images of the band in the studio have appeared online

They're definitely up to something, but is it recording album six?

Arctic Monkeys have got their fans speculating after sharing two somewhat cryptic buy still very promising photos online. 

Having kept a relatively low profile in recent years, it was recently reported that the Sheffield band had started work on their new album last Christmas. 

Now, fans are excited about the record's progress after drummer Matt Helders posted a picture of his drumkit surrounded by microphones.

Meat & Potatoes // Leica M6 // #portra400 #35mm

A post shared by Matt Helders (@cautioushorse) on May 8, 2017 at 8:14pm PDT

Last month, photographer Daniele Cavalli posted images of Alex Turner sat at a piano take, as well as other snaps of members of the band out and about in Los Angeles.

Mormorando Magnificenza

A post shared by THIS FEED FEELS GOOD AT NIGHT (@danielecavalli) on Apr 26, 2017 at 6:16am PDT

High Green

A post shared by THIS FEED FEELS GOOD AT NIGHT (@danielecavalli) on Apr 21, 2017 at 6:33am PDT

La Bella Famiglia

A post shared by THIS FEED FEELS GOOD AT NIGHT (@danielecavalli) on Apr 22, 2017 at 7:16am PDT

But what does this all mean? Rumours that the band were recording a new album emerged last summer, but frontman Alex Turner brushed them off, insisting they were in no rush to put a record out. Still, that was almost a year ago now, which in music years is a lifetime.

MORE: Arctic Monkeys' complete Official UK Chart history

It's almost four years since Arctic Monkeys release AM, their fifth consecutive Number 1 album. Since then, the band have been working on individual side-projects; Matt Helders played with Iggy Pop for his Post Pop Depression album and tour, while Alex Turner released an album and EP with The Last Shadow Puppets.

AM was hugely successful for Arctic Monkeys, topping the Official Albums Chart for two weeks and has shifted 995,000 equivalent album units to date. It's also a mainstay on the Official Vinyl Albums Chart - last week the collection re-entered at Number 20.

MORE: The UK's Official Top 40 biggest vinyl albums and singles of 2017 so far