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The Debut Album:
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
The Story So Far...
For the inhabitants of the British Isles, the second half of 2005 belonged to one band and one band only. A group of four friends, barely out of high school in their small industrial satellite town in the North of England, burst into the national consciousness in a way not seen since the heady days of punk rock. Without anyone suspecting it, Sheffield - a part of the country forever associated with the word "grim" - had quietly been nurturing the country's most exciting new band. Arctic Monkeys sprang forth, fully formed and seemingly effortlessly, into the limelight. They came armed with infectious melodies, brilliant crashing guitars and the kind of unifying lyrics with which an entire generation could identify. Their early shows quickly became euphoric gatherings of jubilant fans. Their demos – first given away free at gigs and then subsequently as downloads on their website – became immediate collectors items. Before the music industry suits in the nation's capital had even heard murmurs of what was happening, kids the length and breadth of the country were driving hundreds of miles to attend their shows.
A rapid A&R chase followed but the band continued to display unprecedented street smarts. Wielding a healthy mistrust of the industry, the media and just about anything other than their own music & fans, the band eventually signed to respected longstanding British independent Domino ( home to Franz Ferdinand, The Kills, Four Tet, Sons & Daughters et al). Their first single for the label - "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" - managed the unimaginable: It entered the UK singles charts at number one. Arctic Monkeys weren't just the "next big thing"; they were a bone fide phenomenon. These, by the way, are just the facts. "Hype" isn't a word that can be thrown at Arctic Monkeys. If anything, the press were struggling to keep up.
Musically, the lads share a love of The Smiths, The Clash and The Jam (and sure, they may boast a healthy passion for Oasis, System Of A Down and Queens Of The Stone Age) but in no way were The Monkeys ready to simply regurgitate the well-trodden Brit-rock path. Rather, they spent their school days listening to Roots Manuva, Braintax and other stuff on [UK hip hop label] Low-Life, not to mention Lyricist Lounge compilations and releases from Rawkus Records. Another unique influence was the poet John Cooper Clarke. In fact, it's 19 year old frontman Alex Turner's lyrics - smart, sharp, crushingly witty and spiked with small town frustration – that have caught the attention and imagination of their fans almost more than the music itself. Alex doesn't sing about a life of aspiring rock stardom. There aren't any rock stars 'round his way. He sings about unforgiving bouncers, grumpy cab drivers, crushes on shop girls, kids "who like to fight with pool cues in their hands" and daily life in a town where "there's only music so that there's new ringtones". He's singing about a town in the North of England, but really, he could be singing about anywhere. Being young, bored and broke is a universal malady. In that way, Arctic Monkeys share a lineage with everyone from The Ramones to Eminem. But then again, whatever we say they are, that's probably what they're not....
Arctic Monkeys are Alex Turner (vocals, guitar), Jamie Cook (guitar), Andy Nicholson (bass) and Matt Helders (drums, vocals). The debut album is released on Domino Records on February 21st.
--- from the official Arctic Monkeys website