Saturday, August 13, 2011

Arctic Monkeys - "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" (LP Review)

What's the appropriate soundtrack for the recent UK riots? "Anarchy in the UK" by the Pistols? "London's Burning" by The Clash? All good choices, but they're 1) dated and 2) rather literal.

Instead, I thought of "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not", the 2006 debut LP by the Arctic Monkeys, a colorful collection of songs that depict the bleak, feckless lives of working class youth in the UK. For example, listen to "Riot Van", and it becomes apparent that lead singer / guitarist / song writer Alex Turner is writing about (and in the process, somewhat glamorizing) a general malaise, not about riots themselves. Take Springsteen's "Nebraska", update it by an entire generation, transplant it to the UK, speed it up, and you have WPSIATWIN.

While I had seen Arctic Monkeys on a TV show (SNL perhaps?) and enjoyed them, it took me a while to actually get this LP. The hype machine for the band was in full swing (yet another Britpop band: The Strokes, Oasis, etc.), so I wasn't sure what to think. The LP really is as good (or nearly so) as the hype: stripped down, lo-fi, catchy garage punk. Similar to The Cribs, and while not quite as good as them, they easily belong in the same discussion. Although if pressed, I might admit that the lead single from the LP, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor", rawks as hard as anything The Cribs have written.

Standout Songs: "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor", "The View From the Afternoon", "Fake Tales of San Francisco", "Riot Van", "Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But..", "When the Sun Goes Down".

Skip'em Songs: none.

Final Score: 9/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment