Music News

Arctic Monkeys

Whatever People Say I Am, That¹s What I¹m Not

U.K. music scribes have always been addicted to hype -- but their ballyhooing of Arctic Monkeys is over the top even by their standards. The group couldn't live up to their praise if it featured Jesus on vocals and Mohammed on guitar. (Please, no one draw a cartoon of this!) So it's hardly shocking that People falls short of absolute, metaphysical transcendence -- yet the disc's pretty entertaining anyway.

The originality claims made on behalf of singer Alex Turner's lyrics falter the moment he tries to enhance the prostitute portrait "When the Sun Goes Down" by referencing the Police ("He told Roxanne to put on her red light"). Still, his words are typically sassy and sometimes ironic: The CD's first line is "Anticipation has the habit to set you up for disappointment." And if the music resembles the output of a dozen other Brit buzz bands, tracks such as "Dancing Shoes" are catchy and propulsive enough to overrule most objections.

Not that English critics have any. Jesus and Mohammed will just have to try harder next time.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts