Whatever People Say I Am, That?s What I?m Not
Domino (DNO 086)
Believe the hype. Since last year, England?s Arctic Monkeys have been generating tons of buzz. First, the foursome posted free MP3s of their demos online. Then they debuted at #1 on the U.K. charts with their first single, ?I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor.? They even sold out an abbreviated U.S. tour last fall, months before their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That?s What I?m Not, was released.
Now that it?s out, the band can be championed ? not only for deserving the massive U.K. press buildup, but also for making the year?s most vitalizing album. Frontman Alex Turner spits, slurs and slogs words; the band churns riff after accelerated riff, and songs skitter from pop to punk to lo-fi elegance and back again. In short, Whatever People Say I Am is the album all these other new guitar bands wish they had made.
Falling out of Turner?s cocked and cocky mouth, it all sounds like teen spirit. Club bouncers get pushy, girls get lippy and Turner and his mates find themselves in situations common among poor, disenchanted youth (the Monkeys were in their teens when Whatever People Say I Am was recorded). This is the sound of blood and booze spilling on the dance floor and the eventual consequences (it starts with the jaunty ?Dancing Shoes,? ends up as the teen lament ?Riot Van?). The Arctic Monkeys sound bored and agitated at the same time. In other words, they?ve captured the essence of kids all over the world. Whatever People Say I Am confronts the old-school, sputters a confrontational word or two and defies you not to love its defiance.