CD Review: Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys
Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
By David Chiu

One has to be weary whenever a band is touted as the “next big thing” because it usually mean a short shelf life (Does anybody still remember Jobriath? Klaatu?). Sheffield, England’s Arctic Monkeys maybe the exception. Already this album has burned up the British charts; their shows have been sold-out affairs, including the States; and they were recently on Saturday Night Live. Such fanatical adoration might be justified given the punkish/metal aggression, jagged rhythms, ironic lyrics, and the blunt and shouting vocals of Alex Turner. The Monkeys may sound a bit like Franz Ferdinand (both are on the same label), although they a little rock harder. Whatever contains all rockers and no momentum killing ballads (save for the sobering hangover effect of “Riot Van”), from the exuberantly catchy “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” to the ramshackle “A Certain Romance.” There is also a dark, satirical edge to the some of the cigarette-and-alcohol soaked lyrics (“She don’t do major credit cards, I doubt she does receipts” – sings Turner on When the Sun Goes Down’), in addition to the interesting song titles that alludes to their heroes the Smiths. Maybe the dark horse star of this album is drummer Matt Helders—his all-over-the-place playing seems to drown out the wall of guitars in front of him. Worth the hype? That remains to be certain. Even without this tremendous attention from both fans and critics, the music stands by its own merits, assuring that this won’t be the last time we’ll be hearing from Arctic Monkeys.


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