Friday, July 18, 2008


Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not-
Arctic Monkeys
Status: Out as of 2006
Label: Domino
Rating: 5 Feathers

Though they are a band releasing their debut album, when you first look at them, you think that they are four average acne-stricken adolescents who do the things normal guys at the age of 19 would do. Little would you believe the wonder and the gravity of the music they create and how quickly it encased the youth of not only their hometown Sheffield, but all of England. 'The View From The Afternoon' starts out with the line 'Anticipation has the habit to set you up for disappointment'. This is quickly proven wrong when you hear the beginning drum line which moves into rapid chord changes and a pumping bass-line. The shear talent exhibited is enough to suck you in. I mean, Jamie Cook sure knows his way around the fingerboard. 'I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor' is a more poppy song than the latter, but that doesn't make you like it any less. With references to Romeo and Juliet, a forceful guitar solo, and a driving beat, it makes you want more. 'Fake Tales of San Francisco' talks of people who say they're something they're not. With extremely conversational lyrics and a dead right view on culture, you can really relate to them. 'Dancing Shoes' starts out sounding a bit darker like 'A View' but once the second verse kicks in, Matt Helders's drumming gets you dancing in your seat. 'You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me' has the longest title but it's the shortest song. If you've experienced youth, you'll understand the song perfectly, for it's about getting nervous in the presence of someone you like and the way Alex Turner writes it is so accurate. 'Still Take You Home' has a similar feel to 'You Probably Couldn't', but it's a lot heavier and very, very fast. The lyric 'I fancy you with a passion' makes me giggle. 'Riot Van' is a softer, more melodic feel, but the lyrics don't match the song at all. They are about messing with the cops, running away from them with friends, and ultimately getting caught. 'Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secure' seems to be about catching a taxi and while in the taxi, the narrator is talking to the cabbie and describing the events of the night. 'Mardy Bum' starts with a twangy double guitar solo. The song describes a girlfriend who has a very temperamental (mardy) side and a fun side. The over all mien of the song is calm. 'Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But...' is very industrial and dark. Alex's filtered vocals add a sinister feel which is flat out brilliant. About 3 minutes in, the song stops, and you hear a faint 'All you people are vampires!' and it kicks into an astounding guitar solo. The central theme returns at the end, and it leaves you craving for more. 'When The Sun Goes Down' talks about the dark-side of the Neepsend district of Sheffield. It, to me, sounds like a dark show tune, with a soft beginning, heavy middle, and almost happy ending. 'From The Ritz to The Rubble' is my favourite Arctic Monkeys song. Alex's Yorkshire accent is overly perfect in this song and Andy Nicholson's bass throughout is just spectacular. Jamie's guitar solo at the end sounds old English-y to me. 'A Certain Romance' finishes off the album. Words can't describe it. The drum solo at the beginning is perfect, the guitar riffs are perfect, the bass is perfect, the accent-y singing is perfect, and the lyrics are so true and observant. With lyrics like 'There's only music so that there's new ring tones, and it don't take no Sherlock Holmes to see it's a little different around here' is hugely representative of today's culture that it's daunting. I cannot say enough about this album. If four teenagers can make such a perfect soundtrack to today's culture of not only England, but of the world, anything is possible. These four are geniuses who have a huge career ahead of them. Any youth going through life needs this album.
"On a couple of early recordings I sound totally different, like an American, but I feel much more comfortable with my Sheffield accent. It's natural, it's how I sound, and I wouldn't go back."-Alex Turner

Video for I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

Arctic Monkeys Official Website
Note: Sorry this is so long, I love the album. They do have a 2nd album that I will be reviewing fyi. The singer is also in The Last Shadow Puppets, but note Arctic Monkeys are the primary band that came first whereas The Last Shadow Puppets are a side/2nd project. (Both are great though!) Thanks for the lovely comments, it's what keeps me writing!


Anonymous said...


Although RIOT VAN has nothing to do with the title, still awesomely great. I do agree that this album is amazing for a bunch of teenagers. Most kids their age only care about defiance, rebellion, and revenge. The Artic Monkeys give me a spark of hope that all is not lost in the youth of this generation.....


Arnold Layne said...

I love "I Bet You Look Good On the Dance Floor", but "Teddypicker" nonetheless remains my favorite song as I'm sure you know why. Great review, like always, and I must say, I agree with imaninja104 that the Arctic Monkeys give me a spark of hope as well.

Double Hawk said...

Ninja: Thanks for the comments, the one for the shadow puppets was funny and so you!
Arnie: I think I know why Teddy Picker's your favourite, but thats on their next album!

Thanks for your wonderful comments!

Lily Hydrangea said...

Wow! another great review! I remember being much younger and thinking the exact same thing, "whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not."
It's always a pleasure reading your thoughts DH.