Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say, That's What I'm Not
Review by Jack Foley
AND so we arrive at one of the year’s most anticipated debut album releases… The Arctic Monkeys’ Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.
So hot they could melt right now, The Arctic Monkeys shot to prominence following their debut single, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor last year, which debuted at No.1 and became one of the biggest sensations of the year.
Their follow-up, When The Sun Goes Down has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm surrounding them, so expect the long-player to be similarly massive.
Boasting 13 songs, the album successfully combines the angular guitar sound of Franz Ferdinand with the sort of energetic lyrical wit that made the Kaiser Chiefs’ Employment such a blast last year.
But while certainly better than Franz Ferdinand (and more worthy of the hype), Arctic Monkeys don’t quite match the achievements of the Kaiser Chiefs largely because a lot of their album seems cut from the same cloth.
Much of the allure of the Arctic Monkeys lies in the simplicity of their lyrics. They tackle simple, relatable subjects in a positive, catchy manner.
Take the rapturous intro (drum roll giving way to a staggered guitar riff) that marked the arrival of I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, a hip, bouncy tale of late-night pulling.
Or its partner-in-crime, Still Take You Home, which again tackles the subject of pulling in effervescent, cheeky fashion.
Album opener, The View From The Afternoon kicks things off with some towering guitar riffs and the confident swagger of a youthful Oasis in their prime. It even contains a knowing nod to their popularity right now, starting with the teasing lyric, ‘Anticipation has a habit to set you up for disappointment’.
Yet somehow I feel that very few Arctic Monkey enthusiasts will find this debut effort a disappointment, no matter how high anticipation runs.
Further highlights include the raw passion of Fake Tales of San Francisco and the edgy melodies of Dancing Shoes – both tracks which help to underline Alex Turner’s distinct vocal style.
There is even a hint that the band might not be content to settle for one style in tracks like the genuinely excellent Mardy Bum, a chirpy, deeply melodic record that is also one of the slowest efforts on the album.
It hints at both early Smiths and The Libertines but trumps them both, emerging as a vocally astute piece of work that displays plenty of potential for the future.
There’s even a nod to Hard-Fi during Riot Van with its observations on rural boredom and laddish thuggery – but crucially, the band manages to maintain its own sense of style and energy throughout.
As previously stated, however, the album stumbles occasionally from sounding a little too samey in places – such as Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong and Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured.
But on the whole this is a worthy debut album that capably justifies the hype surrounding them. Don’t expect the heat surrounding the Arctic Monkeys to thaw any time just yet…
1. The View From The Afternoon
2. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
3. Fake Tales Of San Francisco
4. Dancing Shoes
5. You Probably Couldn’t See For The Lights But You Were Looking Straight At Me
6. Still Take You Home
7. Riot Van
8. Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured
9. Mardy Bum
10. Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But..
11. When The Sun Goes Down
12. From The Ritz To The Rubble
13. A Certain Romance