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Forget Darwinism, these four boys from Sheffied are an evolutionary anomaly. The Arctic Monkeys have picked up guitars and are taking over the musical world.

Their debut album Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not saw the relatively unknown band conquer the British charts in a week, debut at number one in Australia and crack the unbreakable US market, debuting at 24.

Their music has been compared to that of The Smiths, The Clash and Oasis, with their songs displaying an unpretentious approach to rock.

Front-man Alex Turner spoke of his amazement over the band's success on the Domino Recording website: “If I say ‘phenomenon’ it sounds like I’m right up my own arse, but we’d be daft to act like we didn’t realise how incredible the last year’s been. When it all started we were like ‘fucking hell, what’s going off here?'"

Turner has a casual flair for creating songs with lyrics that tell a story about what he knows. The subjects range from underage drinking and going on benders to observations of their hometown locals.

The album sleave offers a note to fans and critics alike: “Thanks to anyone who’s ever given us a lift or anything and to those who believed in us from the early days. They can all say what they want now but they’ll never do what we’ve done.”

For the moment the Arctic Monkeys are overwhelmed by their fame, but there are concerns that their nonchalance could turn into arrogance, as with fellow Brit rockers Oasis. Watch this space.
by scummy | 2008-02-02 16:55


They've gatecrashed the charts, their gigs are near-riots and they've done it all themselves. Arctic Monkeys mania is sweeping the nation...and it's right mental!

from NME, 29 October 2005
WORDS: Tim Jonze PHOTOGRAPHS: Dean Chalkley

There's a riot goin' on - right in the middle of the Astoria. A couple of guys have bashed into each other during the pre-gig soundtrack and now they're hungry for blood. Insults are traded. Fists start flailing. A few more people get swept in and start landing punches and kicks. This could break into a full-scale riot if someone doesn't do something soon.

KABOOM! Suddenly, a roar so deafening you'd think The Beatles had just arrived for their comeback gig. With John and George resurrected on guitars. And God playing keyboards. Backwards. Everyone swings towards four skinny lads onstage. The first riff cranks up and nothing else matters. Scrap? What scrap? The same guys who wanted to rip put each other's eyeballs have now got their arms around each other...

Once in a while, there comes along a band who unite a generation - a band who sum up what it is to be young, lost, broke and British. The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Libertines...Arctic Monkeys might tremble at the prospect, but they're that kind of band. Hailing from Sheffield's healthy indie scene, they've got the gang mentality, the cocksure swagger, the ability to sum up a young lifetime's torment in one neat line. No wonder that by the time you read this, they'll already be proper chart stars. The likes of Kaiser Chiefs might make great tunes to throw yourself around an indie disco to, but Arctic Monkeys are something else entirely - they're a band you can believe in.

Want proof? Check the scenes at London's Astoria, where the band have arrived for the fourth sold-out date of their UK tour. It's a gig that's been upgraded due to demand. Twice. Outside, tickets are changing hands for over £100. When NME hands our spare ticket to a fan she looks like she might burst into tears.

"They mean everything," gabbles Tom, 16, as he queues up. "You can feel the love in the room! Everyone's together! Everyone's united! Everyone knows all the words!"

Before he can finish we're gabbles by Alicia, 16, and her gang of Monkeys fanatics.

"Alex Turner is the best lyricist since Morrissey! He tells the truth, about getting chucked out of clubs and prostitutes. Who else talks about that?"

And the gig itself? A blur of crowd-surfing, singalongs and mass pogoing right to the back of the venue. People are taking pictures with their phones, just to prove to their grandkids that they were at that gig. It's something the band have gotten used to- ever since their first show at The Grapes in Sheffield saw people going berserk from the off. It pains us to do this lads, but Arctic Monkeys are - deep breath - The Next Big Thing...

"I like to think we're more than just the nest hype band," reasons Alex Turner in his Sheffield rehearsal space a few days earlier. "We were striking a nerve and having a fair bit of success before all that started. So the hype's not just hype - it's chasing something that's actually real."

Did you ever guess things would work out like this?

"Obviously you can never really expect it on this scale, but..." He breaks into a cheeky grin: "I think we always knew we were alright, like."

What's been your favourite 'fucking-hell-this-is-getting-weird' moment?

Alex: "Noel [Gallagher] were talking about us on radio. That was weird, that he even knew who we were. He said, 'I'm not having that name for starters!' We were pissing ourselves! That's what everyone says. But when that many people slag you off, you have to stick with it, don't you?"

So why have you struck a nerve?

Andy [Nicholson, bass]: "Good-lookin' bass player."
Matt [Helders, drums]: "Good sense of humour!"
Andy: "Twat!"

The story of Arctic Monkeys forming isn't a simple one. It is, in fact, a very simple one. They met at school, became mates and realised that being in a band beat being bored. The lads fret that this story isnz7t sexy enough, but they're wrong. All the best British bands - from The Beatles to Oasis - formed through firm friendships.

"I always feel we're disappointing people when they ask about how we got together," laughs Alex, "especially because everyone's always like, 'I can really tell there's a lot of pain in your words.' Sorry, but it's not like that."

Jamie 'Cookie' Cook [guitar]: "Someone asked us once if we were outcasts as school and I were like, 'No, we had loads of mates!' We're not like these American bands whining on about being bullied. They're all 25 now anyway - get over it!"

You don't need a history of eating disorders or a habit of scratching 'Ritchy' into your arm with a rusty compass to realise why Arctic Monkeys are special. You just need to have grown up through the '90s and realised that being young's not always that sweet. You don't always get with the good-looking girls ('I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'). There's always a bigger brute with a Vauxhall Nova waiting to pinch your girlfriend ('Bigger Boys And Stolen Sweethearts'). And there's not much glamour in getting your head shoed-in on a Saturday night ('A Certain Romance'). While Alex Kapranos busies himself namechecking Aleksandr Rodchenko, Arctic Monkeys write songs for you and me. For the people who've grown up in towns where "there's only music so that there's new ringtones". For people who aren't from New York City. They're a band who tell you about your life. A band who won't, as one rise man once noted, give you any fake tales of San Francisco.

"Most bands these days probably just write lyrics because they sound good without thinking," says Alex. "But I don't want to be a band like Kaiser Chiefs. I think if we're next year's Kaiser Chiefs, we'll quit!"

What type of frontman are you?

"I like to think I walk the tightrope between Mike Skinner and Jarvis Cocker..."

Because the songs are all about real life?

"They're all from real experience. Except for the early demos, which were a load of bollocks. But I worked in a venue which gave me the inspiration for 'Fake Tales Of San Francisco'. And songs like 'When The Sun Goes down' are first-hand from living in Sheffield."

You see prostitutes on the streets a lot, then?

Alex: "Oh aye, you do round here. We had a practice room down the road and you'd see them all the time. That line about 'subtle propositions' is about when Andy got accosted on his way there. She said, 'That guitar bag looks heavy.'"

Andy: "I were like, 'What? Do you do all sorts of things? Cos I've got an amp over there if you wanna roadie.'"

It was a couple of guitars, given to Alex and Jamie as Christmas presents, that initially spurred the band into action. Fancying a piece of the action, Andy and Matt jumped onboard. Initially Alex gabbled any old nonsense over the songs, but after a while he let the others into a secret - he was a lyrical whizzkid. Such skills came from a youth spent listening to hip-hop with his mates - from Roots Manuva to the stuff on the Rawkus Records and Lyricist Lounge compilations. They'd also shunned Britpop's tired white-boy playlists by getting into the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Parliament. In fact, before Jamie joined the band, armed with some choice Smiths, Oasis and QOTSA records, the band were way funkier. Jamie stopped them becoming Jamiroquai, but there's an undeniable Roses-like groove that remains.

With the band all in one place, there was just one small task ahead: get massive. But how did it happen so fast? To put it simply, they got their music out there - handing out demos at gigs to anyone who wanted them. It wasn't long before the demos were plastered all over the internet. The band are clearly shrewd marketing bods as well as ace musicians, right?

All: "We didn't do that! We didn't even have the internet!"
Alex: "Other people did all the online stuff for us. We thought rather than send our demos to record labels, let's just give them to fans and make the gigs better."

So when did you realise that something strange was happening?

Alex: "It were a gig at The Forum in Sheffield. People were cheering from the minute we went onstage. It were a right good gig until this fight broke out between a load of bouncers."


Matt: "They'd been out on some bouncers Christmas do! It were like the ultimate fighting championship. You could hear people shouting, 'Gimme a leg up - he's getting his teeth kicked in!'"

From this point on, Monkeys Mania sprang into action. When they played The Boardwalk at the start of this year, everyone knew the words to songs that were just demos. Alex was so taken aback he burst into hysterics onstage and had to start again. An unannounced gig on a wet Monday night in Wakefield ended up being "fucking rammed" with footprints on the roof from all the crowdsurfing. Even during these early days, the band spotted familiar faces. Fans from Aberdeen were makong eight-hour drives to see them in Yorkshire; a hardcore crew from Nottingham were turning up at every show.

Matt: "The guys from Nottingham turn up with a bag of wine and a straw, so thsy can crowdsurf and sip at the same time!"

Are they in the, ahem, Arctic Army?

All: "No! That's you lot stirring things up that is!"
Alex: " And it's not Monkeys Mafia either, before you get any ideas..."

It's hardly surprising that, come May, every label in the land would have pleasured a tramp for their signature. Their first London gigs saw them turning prominent A&R men away at the door. Why invite the industry, when you're already got sold-out shows? After singing to Franz's label Domino things only got hotter - with this year's slot at the Carling Weekend: Reading And Leeds Festivals turning them into bona fide rock stars. Naturally for a bunch of northern lads, their mates couldn't stop laughing.

All: "They take the piss out of us!"
Alex: "My mate Pete were caught the other day with an 'Alex Turner Is God' badge on. I thought, 'You cheeky bastard!'. And when our mate Clarkey sees us he'll scream, 'Oh my God! It's Arctic Monkeys!' At least they let us in the Leadmill for free now."

Is that the indie equivalent of getting the keys to the city?

Alex: "Aye, it is."
Cookie: "We never use it, though, it's just our fucking mates. They had 12 people turning up as guitarists from Arctic Monkeys the other week!"
Alex: "Weird thing is, it cant't get any more successful than it did on our first tour, when everyone were stagediving. It can only get bigger."

It's time for one last question. Arctic Monkeys have gone from underground heroes to the most talked-about band in the UK - all in the space of 12 months. So...where do you think you'll be a year from now? Selling out Knebworth for five nights? Ending famine in Africa?

Andy: "Dropped!"
Matt: "On the scraphead!"
Alex: "With loads more people slagging us off..."
Andy: "...and saying this new band who sound like us are loads better!"

That's a pessimistic viewpoint...

"We'll be the same as we've always been," concludes Alex. "You just worry sometimes about other people's perceptions changing. That's why it's so special that we had our followers way before people started writing about us. Because ultimately, next year will be the true test. If we're still intact when people stop banging on about us, then we'll know it really meant something."

Believe hype? Arctic Monkeys don't need the hype.
by scummy | 2008-01-24 14:55 | interview


Musicians from the suburbs of England often say, 'We had only two choices to turn things around - music or football...

All: "Ha ha ha, yeah."
Matt: "...hey, don't put these manky socks close to me.
Jamie: "All right, shut up."
Matt: "Well, get these off now. You've been doing it."
Jamie: "Ahh, OK, OK."
Matt: "Yeah, actually, we had just only music, not music or football.

I think you've been friends since high school, before you guys formed the band. What was the prime reason for choosing rock music?

Matt: The Strokes or The White Stripes just came along when we formed the band. And I suppose we were affected by these new bands. But we didn't think to play just "rock" music. Instead of fiddling with computers, anyhow we just wanted to play music. I think

Andy: "I got a bass guiter as Christmas present. This is why I got to play music. And it was 2001."
Alex: "I don't have much to say though...(laugh) By the way, I really like football. I also got a guiter at Christmas in 2001. I like music before that though, this was the kick off. And then I joined a band and we've come here."

Well Alex, you look like so tired though (laugh).

Alex: "Yeah, um...awwww (give a big yawn). Oh sorry, cos this is supposed to be the 8th interview today."

Are you getting a bit fed up with the situation where you have to deal with interviews like this in Britain or Japan?
Alex: "No, er...I've got just jet lag, I suppose...(laugh). Well, it's a bother. We just arrived in Japan from London yesterday. Anyway I got up...I'm still not accustomed to it...(yawn again)."

I love the combinations of your melody, lyrics and sound. And I think a lot of people in the world seem to be also attracted by it. Especially, the melody is timeless and powerful.

Matt: "I'll leave this to Alex."
Alex: "...umm...I don't know. Just...I was a bit conscious of writing something different from other people. And I've got to write little by little. In the middle of it, I suppose I've been getting better by bits. Like having a lot of practice, 'This part is well. This part isn't.', I've learned that way. I think I've
by scummy | 2008-01-22 18:51

STAR soccer

Arctic Monkeys

 言ってみれば、アークティック・モンキーズは、「ブリティッシュ・ロックにおけるウェイン・ルーニー」である。それは年齢が一緒だということのみならず、ひとつの存在がまったく新しい夜明けを告げるという、超新星であることにおいてである。イギリスの大衆ロック・マガジン『NME』は、彼らの登場を「WORLD'S WAITING FOR」と最大級の歓迎をもって告げた。アークティック・モンキーズは、そんなサッカー伝統街:シェフィールド出身の4ピース・バンドである。
 ちなみにこのバンド、ファースト・アルバム『Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not』をドロップする前に、16を超える局をwebサイトからダウンロードさせ、シーンを完全に味方につけた。既にシングルで全英トップを飾っているにもかかわらず、未だあまり取材を受けない姿勢を含め、このバンドの業界やメディアに対するスタンスは明確である。そんな「敵」である僕らと共に、屈託ない1時間を過ごした記録がこのテキストと「青山の公園での5分間のサッカー・ショット」だ。最初はギターのジェイミーを先頭に楽しそうにボールを蹴っていたバンドだったが、やがてベースのアンディが球蹴りの輪に入ってこないのを確認すると、途端に「さぁ、帰ろっか」とばかりに公園から勝手に帰りだす。その態度は、明らかにここ最近の「飼い慣らされたロック」にはなかったものだ。こんな対応を受けて喜ぶべきではないのかもしれないが、しかし取材終了後、カメラマンと共に「すっきりしている奴らだったね」と喜んでいる自分がいたにも事実である。

マット(ドラム:以下M) 「・・・・・・おいそこの汚い靴下、オレにくっつけるなって」
ジェイミー(ギター:以下J) 「わかったよ、うるせえな」
M 「だったらどかせよ。さっきからずっとやってるじゃんか」
J 「あーあー、わかったって」
M 「まあ、オレたちには音楽かフットボールじゃなくて、音楽しかなかったってことなんだ」
M 「バンドを結成した頃、ちょうどストロークスとかホワイト・ストライプスなんかが登場したんだ。そういう新しいバンドに影響を受けたとは思う。でも別に"ロック"をやろうと思ったわけじゃないんだ。コンピュータなんかをいじってるよりも、とにかく音楽をやりたいって気持ちが強かったんだよね。メインストリームの音楽よりも、もっといろんな要素を取り込んだものができたらいいなと思ってたかな」
アンディ(ベース:以下AN) 「オレはベース・ギターをクリスマスに買ってもらったんだ。それがきっかけで音楽をやるようになったんだよ。あれは01年だったね」
アレックス(ヴォーカル&ソングライティング:以下AL) 「オレはあんまり話すことなんかないんだけどな・・・・・・(笑)。ちなみにオレはフットボール大好きだよ。オレがギターを手に入れたのも01年のクリスマスだったんだ。それより前から音楽は好きだったけど、それがきっかけになったわけ。で、バンドに入って、そのままここまできたんだ」
AL 「ああ、うん・・・・・・うぁぁぁぁっ(と大あくび)。ごめんごめん、何せ8本目の取材らしいから、今日」
AL 「いや、うーん・・・・・・単なる時差ボケだと思うけど・・・・・・(笑)まぁ、面倒ではあるね。昨日、ロンドンから日本に着いたばかりだしね。とにかく朝起きても・・・・・・まだ身体が慣れなくてさ・・・・・・(再びあくびを始める)」
M 「これはアレックスにまかせるよ」
AL 「・・・・・・うーん・・・・・・わかんないけどさ。ただ・・・・・・他の人とは違うものを書こうっていう意識はあったかな」それで少しずつ書くようになって。それを続けていく中で、ちょびっとずつ上手くなってきたんだと思う。練習を重ねてきたような感じで、『この部分は上手くいった、この部分はだめだった』というふうに学んできたんだよ。書いているうちに、少しずついい曲がかけるようになってきたんじゃないかなと思う。違うことがやりたかったから曲を書き始めたんだ。だから違う曲が書けるようになったんだ。」
AL 「いや、それだけじゃないとは思うけどね。全部が日記みたいにパーソナルってわけじゃないから。もっと私的な内容だってあり得るわけだから、オレたちが勇気を持ってるとか、そういうことじゃないと思うよ」
J 「(からかって)気絶したか?ってさ(笑)」
AL 「(笑)・・・・・・えーと、別に意識して書いてるわけじゃないよ。ただ書いているっていうだけで・・・・・・コンセプトがあるわけでもないからさ。自然と書いてるだけ」
M 「(相づちを打ちながら質問を聞いていて)・・・・・・そうかもね、ありがとう。本当のところはよくわからないけど、そうであるならば嬉しいよ。オレたちのやり方が他のバンドとどれだけ違うのかも、あんまり知らないからね。・・・・・・ただ、ビジネスの一部になるようなビッグなロックバンドの中にも、それをエンジョイしているようなバンドとかね。オレたちもそうなれればいいなとは思ってるよ」
J 「実際に酷いバンドもあるけどさあ」
M 「まぁね。そればっかでもあるけどな、ははは」
AL 「・・・・・・どうだろう。ただ、聴いた人が反応してくれたり、微笑んでくれたりしたらいいなっていう、そういうすごくシンプルなことを考えているんだけどさ。だんだんわかってきたんだけど、やっぱり何かに変化を与えたり、影響したり、そして喜んでもらうために曲を作ってるんだよね。それはそういうものなんだよ。」
J 「(フットボールの話題になった途端に表情を変えて)フットボールは大好きだよ。今は音楽があるから自分にとってはセカンド・ビッグ・シングだけど、でも、音楽とフットボールはいつもオレにとってすごく大事なものだったんだ。今は街にいないことが増えてるから、あんまり試合を観られないけどね。でもこれまで9年間くらいは、シェフィールド・ウェンズデーのシーズンチケットを持ってたから、しょっちゅう観に行ってたよ。フットボールも音楽も一緒なんだよね。つまりは、ある種の逃避なんだ」
J 「たとえば1週間の労働を終えて、週末を楽しみたかったからバンドのライブに行くか、試合を観に行くわけ。ま、試合は常に楽しめるとは限らないんだけど(笑)それはバンドも一緒か、あはは」
J 「そうだね。バンドももちろんそうだしね。オレたちはどうなのかな(笑)」
全員 「ははははははは、無理無理」
AN 「オレもフットボールは好きだったよ、もちろん。プレーするのも好きだったんだけど、それで酷いケガをしちゃってさ」
J 「え、そうなの?知らなかった」
AN 「うん。実はそれで、フットボールができなくなったんだ(本当に残念そう)。だからこんなに太っちまった」
M 「アホ。オレはフットボールは得意じゃなかったなー。だからやんなかった。兄貴がやるのはよく観てたけど。お前は?」
AL 「オレ?週末とかやってたよ。オレがすげえゴールを決めたときの話してやろうか?」
J 「うん!」
AL 「あのな、ある試合で・・・・・・(言葉に詰まる)」
全員 「アハハハハ」
M 「シーズンのラストゲームはよく観に行ってたよな」
J 「でもシュフィールド・ウェンズデーはオレたちが観始めてから、ろくな成績残してないよな」
M 「ってより、だんだん弱くなってる気がする」
J 「でも最近はまだ上向きな感じもあるけどさ」
M 「でも全然ダメだろ、どちらにしろ。どう思う?」
M 「ははは!言うねえ。いや、そんなことないよ」
J 「シェフィールド・ユナイテッドのほうはけっこう調子いいよ。今は(チャンピオンシップの)トップじゃないかな。あとはウェンズデーが残ってくれればいいと思う」
全員 「そりゃぁ誰だってフットボーラーになりたかったよ!シェフィールドならそうさ。というか、イングランドはみんなそうだよ」
AN 「それかロックスターかね」
J 「いや、それは違うね。ロックスターを目指すより、フットボーラーを目指すほうがカッコいいのがイングランドだ。オレはフットボーラーのほうがいいな」
M 「あ、オレも!」
AN 「オレは宇宙飛行士の次にフットボーラーがいいよ!」
AL 「オレは曲が書けてから、フットボーラーがどーでもよくなったんだ。でも、なりたくないヤツなんているか?」
J 「たぶん、イングランド人にとってのフットボールっていうのは、日本人にとってとだいぶ意味が違うんだ。わかるかな?まぁ日本のことはよくわからないけどね・・・・・・でもたぶん違うんじゃないかな・あ、でも、オレ間違ってるかも。うー、やっぱりわかんない(笑)」
M 「NO!」
全員 「あはははははははははは!」
AL 「お前それを言うの待ってただろ(笑)」
M 「だってあんなこと言われたら"YES"って言えないじゃん(笑)でもフットボーラーのことはよくわかんないけど、オレたちは実際によく"NO"と言ってると思う。少なくとも"YES"よりはたくさん"NO"って言ってるね。"YES"と言わないわけじゃないけど・・・・・・それか"イェー(Yeah)"かな(笑)」
他のメンバー 「イェー!」
AL 「ただ、うん、フットボーラーのほうが"YES"って言うかもね。その考えは合ってるかもしれないよ。けっこう納得いくっていうか、鋭いこと言うね(笑)俺たちは"NO"、あいつらは(フットボーラー)は"YES"か」
J 「フットボーラーってだいぶ違う人種ではあるからね。最近のフットボーラーは昔と違ってると思うし。単なるスポーツ選手っていうより、セレブ、有名人っていう感じがある。ベッカムとかは『何かやってくれ』って頼まれたらすぐに"YES"って言いそうだし(笑)でも、マイケル・オーウェンはそんなことない気がするな。自分の本当にやりたいことしかやらないみたいな。マネージメント会社が入ってこなければね・・・・・・でもよくわかんないよ。フットボーラーなんて全然オレたちとは違う世界だから」
J 「・・・・・・そうだね・・・・・・ふたりともいい選手だよ。ベッカムは・・・・・・ま、なんだかんだいっていいプレーすると思うよ」
M 「ギリシャ戦の、あの決勝ゴールは最高だった!」
J 「でもなんて言うか・・・・・・ベッカムでさえ、みんなが好きなわけじゃないっていうところもあるしね。世の中にはベッカムがフットボーラーだってことも知らないんじゃないかってヤツまでいるし(笑)それだけ有名人だってことだけどね」
AL 「あ、オレも知らなかった」
全員 「ハハハ、アホ!」
AL 「何もないんじゃない?少なくとも、自分の書いた曲や詞がもたらすものはないっていうか。むしろそういうものと逆な人に反応されることが多いから」
M 「TV番組なんかではフットボールとロックを上手く組み合わせてたりするけどね。ロック好きの選手も多いし。オレたちのライブでもフットボーラーが来てるのを見たことあるよ」
AL 「ああ、何人か来てたらしいな」
M 「でも誰も気付いてなかったぜ(笑)。マンチェスター・ユナイテッドかチェルシーの選手ぐらいじゃないと、普通気付かないんじゃん?だから、今の選手はタレントなんだよ。タレントとして認知されないフットボーラーは、フットボーラーじゃないんだ」
J 「(笑)でもとにかく、ロックとフットボールっていうのはすごく似たところがあるのは確かだよ」
AL 「よくわからないな。そんなこと考えたこともないよ。曲を書くことは、勝ち負けとかそういうふうにふたつにわかれてるものじゃないと思うから。だから、答えは"NO"だね(笑)。もっといろんなものがひとつになっているんじゃないかな」
J 「ワールドカップは最低でもベスト8かベスト4にいって欲しいね。アドバイス?そんなのできないって!ただ、期待してるよ。アドバイスか・・・・・・難しい質問だなぁ」
AN 「他のチームよりたくさんゴール!」
AL 「チームとしてひとつにまとまる!」
J 「それはオレたちバンドもそうだろ」
M 「ははは!でも優勝できるらしいぞ、今回ばかりは」
全員 「サンキュー!フットボールのことを話すのは楽しかったよ」
by scummy | 2008-01-21 19:01

Arctic weather can't stop these monkeys

Sunday June 17 2007


THE arctic weather didn't cool the ardour of 20,000 bon vivants last night in Malahide Castle.

Looking barely old enough to order an alcoholic beverage, Arctic Monkeys completely disproved Oscar Wilde's theory that youth is wasted on the young with the gig of the summer - if not the year - in Co Dublin last night.

They hardly cut imposing figures. They look more like your nephews than pop's young dream. You imagine with songs as sublime and soaring as Mardy Bum, A Certain Romance and Leave Before The Lights Come On that Arctic Monkeys will stay eternally youthful.

They came onstage at 8.45pm to a barnstorming View From The Afternoon, followed by an equally explosive Brainstorm. It was a veritable storm throughout the young crowd.

Lead singer Alex Turner is a manic ball of energy, playing the Stratocaster guitar like Paul Weller in his Jam pomp channelling The Strokes. The Sheffield quartet were a revelation, not least because it was hard to fathom that those so bloody young could write such extraordinary tales of ordinary life.

They say that one of the great rules of British rock is that the songwriters are best at the language of wet Wednesdays. And the Arctic Monkeys' Fake Tales of San Francisco says it all with lyrics like: "You're not from New York City, you're from Rotherham."

Well, last night in Malahide Castle was a soggy Saturday, but it was an unforgettable one - Saturday Night Fever from South Yorkshire. Fluorescent Adolescent had 20,000 young 'uns dancing like crazy to this Joe Orton-esque tale of sexual despair.

When The Sun Goes Down and Leave Before The Lights finished a 90-minute set to the kind of cheers normally reserved for local heroes like U2.

They encored with 505 and A Certain Romance. Hey Hey, they're the Arctic Monkeys. And you can catch them monkeying around again in Malahide Castle tonight. Limited tickets are available at www.aikenpromotions.ie.
by scummy | 2007-06-20 17:39


Arctics blast back, bolder and beefier
By Paul Connolly, London Lite 16.04.07

Last summer some people became concerned about the Arctic Monkeys. Just months after they released the fastest-selling debut album in UK history, the sales of Whatever You Think I Am, That's What I'm Not fell off a cliff while their laudable propensity to hurl prodigious amounts of new product at the market seemed to be dimming their star.

The Who The F**k Are The Arctic Monkeys and Leave Before The Lights Come On EPs not only underperformed commercially but were worryingly light on memorable tunes, not an accusation that could have been levelled at their output up until then.

Alex Turner, so insouciant about his band's elevation to voice-of-a-generation status only a few months earlier, was also starting to sound a little weary of all the attention and the awards.

So, displaying an instinctive grasp of music-biz nous way beyond his 21 years, Turner responded by taking his band off the market and back into the studio to record this, their second album.

Instead of trying to break America or touring the rest of the world endlessly - a certain recipe for increasing tension and lessening a band's grip on reality - the Monkeys headed for east London with James Ford, the producer responsible for the Klaxons' recent debut.

Surely the band which famously refused to change their silly name in the face of record company pressure would have the pips to pull themselves together.

Having heard the lead single, Brianstorm, I'll admit I was slightly alarmed. Even 20 listens on I can't hear much in the way of a tune and although the Monkeys have probably coined a new teenage catchphrase in "See you later, innovator", it's just not up to scratch.

Fortunately, this is the weakest song on Favourite Worst Nightmare, even if the beefiness of the playing foreshadows the album's increased muscularity.

This addition of muscle tissue to the Monkeys' limber musical frame is not the only enhancement. They are also much more flexible. Only Ones Who Know, for example, is a bittersweet ballad about moving on that is filigreed with woozy surf guitars.

Yet nothing will prepare you for the shock of album closer 505. Ushered in on a three-note devotional organ figure, Turner's voice croons - yes, croons - "I'm going back to 505/If it's a seven-hour flight or a 45-minute drive/In my imagination you're waiting lying on your side/With your hands between your thighs..." before the lushest rock song this side of Arcade Fire unfolds. True, he pronounces "your hands" "yer 'ands" - but still.

There's plenty of more typical Monkey fare, though, if you're not quite ready for them to take such giant steps.

Teddy Picker, savage surf-punk rock framing Turner's barbed X Factor-slating lyrics, is a standout but next single, Fluorescent Adolescent, will be the song of this year's festivals, with its gigantic ska-pop tune and lyrics about sexual dysfunction.

The Monkeys have done it again. How could we have ever doubted them?
by scummy | 2007-04-17 01:54


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