Released in 2006, the Arctic Monkeys' debut album was fairly typical of the 'good' (in my opinion) music that was in the charts at the time. When I first heard the energy of this new band's music, and the irresistible vocals of Alex Turner, I was drawn to it immediately. I could hear in their sound both the Libertines and Franz Ferdinand, bands which were by then well established. The Arctic Monkeys' debut had loud guitars, fast paced singing, and is an even mix of 'in-your-face' punk and indie, so 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' was my idea of a very good album. Not only was it good, it was impressive, the whole CD sounded so raw, yet polished, that you would think that the Monkeys had been established for years.
The songs range from the good to the excellent, my favourites will always be the number one hit singles: 'When the Sun Goes Down'(I just love the melody at the beginning of it) and the throbbing indie anthem 'I Bet you Look Good on the Dancefloor', but all of the album only tracks benefit from consistent catchy guitar riffs and strong vocals. The irresistible 'Dancing Shoes' is raw and fresh, with lyrics that are naughty and yet so true. The much slower track 'Riot Van', describing underage drinking, is another standout. I exercise a lot, and this is an ideal, mostly very fast CD to work out to.
For a debut - 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' was very strong, and there was even better releases to follow. Alex Turner knew how to write a good song, with lyrics that could be both honest and humourous. With his later side projects (The Last Shadow Puppets with Miles Kane, and the soundtrack to the film 'Submarine'), he has become one of my favourite young musicians. As for the band now, they are back with an outstanding new album AM, which might be their best yet.
If you enjoy rock/indie music - you will surely love Arctic Monkeys, and this is where it all started.
Probably one of the best albums ever released, certainly in the top five of this century. As much as I love the Arctic Monkey's later sounds, there's something raw and very British about their first album which is never quite seen again.
To quote another witty Northern social observer who also used a similar medium, "we hate it when our friends become famous, and if they're Northern - that makes it even worse"
Theirs is troubled birth, mostly out their own control. Their demos were distributed by internet geekoids, their hype generated, inflated and kept afloat by other geekoids creating MySpace corners of the interweb populated by the usual 'gotta have the latest thing' nerdoids.Hopefully all that hype has all died out now.....
The album itself is very refreshing and welcome as a change to the dearth of indie coldplay wanabees that have populated the charts recently. This a return to the proper 'indie' album. Make no mistake about it. Like anything slightly interesting, it takes a little investigation, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the depth and intelligence of this particular composition. The work suggests an orgin from a band with much more maturity.
If you like Joy Division, Cure, James, Depeche Mode, Jesus and Mary Chain, Manics - and you haven't got this then you will like it.