ARTIST: Arctic Monkeys
ALBUM: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
COMMENTS: About two thirds of the way into the first track of the Arctic Monkey's first album, there is a moment of silence. A short 3 or 4 second pause that makes you think the song is over. It way seem pointless, or it may seem like a gimmick, but what it is really is a moment for the Arctic Monkeys to catch their breath. The opening track "The View From the Afternoon" features some tight drumming on the high hat, and the best kind on intertwining guitars, using a surf rock kind of sound. Not only is this one of the stand out tracks, but it also sets the pase for the entire record; fast, loud, fueled by youth energy, beer, and sex drive. No wonder they need to catch their breath.
From that first track, the album launches into an attack of fast drums, driving bass, and the perfect combination of surf rock and grunge. This is a formula, and as such has its pros and cons. The pro of this is that it paints a pretty convinving picture; you get the feeling that this entire album is set in a dive bar somewhere in the slums of England, and it comes of sincere, which is always nice. The problem is that it makes it hard to pick out a difference between any of the songs, and the monkeys come off sounding like one trick ponies with no varation in their sound, all be it a good one. By the time they slow it down on the seventh track (Riot Van) most people will find themselves tired out.
But those who have the engery to go on will be rewarded. Late tracks like "When the Sun Goes Down" and "From the Ritz to the Rubble" maintain the fast pased rock and roll, but feature better than average song writting, and only drive home the working class, frustrated youth theme that the Arctic Monkeys have worked an entire album to portray. Not all the songs are jems though, especially the poorly titled "Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But..." which is thinly veiled metaphor for record compaines, a topic that I know that I am sick of.
The Monkeys have alot going for them. Good song writting, and I love the surf guitar sound that is found throughout the album. It's easy to see how a country fell in love with this CD. The major flaw with this album the repetiton and uniformity of the songs. You never want to have the feeling that if you've heard one song, you've heard em all, which is exactly how I feel after this album is over. What pulls the Arctic Monkeys through is their ability to bring the listener into their world; the authentic feel of the album is what saves it.
RATING: 6.5 out of 10
WORTH THE MONEY: Rock music fans should like this one, I'd say its worth the coin.
KEY TRACKS: "View From the Afternoon" "I'll Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor" "When the Lights go Out"
PS - This issue of LISTEN UP! is probably full of spelling errors that I am just too lazy to deal with. I beg forgivness. Also, looks for another review this week since I didn't get to one last week.