Categories
CULTURE ARCHIVES Living MUSIC ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES VOICE CHOICES ARCHIVES Where To

PLANET OF THE APES

England’s Arctic Monkeys lost the plot a bit on 2009’s Josh Homme–produced Humbug, which obscured frontman Alex Turner’s lyrical gift with a bunch of murky psych-garage grooves better handled by guys with nothing to say. Fortunately, Turner and his mates are back in words-first mode on the more straightforward Suck It and See, due out next month. (Sample lyric from “Reckless Serenade”: “Called up to listen to the voice of reason and got the answering machine.”) They’ll likely provide a preview tonight, but with support from the furiously hyped Vaccines, they’re sure to lean on the old hits as well.

Tue., May 24, 7:30 p.m., 2011

Categories
CULTURE ARCHIVES MUSIC ARCHIVES VOICE CHOICES ARCHIVES Where To

Arctic Monkeys

It’s been only five years since young British indie-rock media darlings Arctic Monkeys stormed out of the blogs and into the middlestream. Now the group has gotten its footing. Having flirted with punk, stoner rock, and Morrissey-like Britpop, the Monkeys have congealed into a band boasting the best of those genres: frontman Alex Turner sings lyrics that are equally smarmy and witty, he and his bandmates can ably transition between tambourine-driven ’60s dance rock into Iggy-worthy spunk (there’s even a song called “Brick by Brick” on their forthcoming record, Suck It and See), and they haven’t lost sight of their sense of humor (read that album title again). With the Vaccines.

Tue., May 24, 6:30 p.m., 2011

Categories
CULTURE ARCHIVES MUSIC ARCHIVES

Romance or What

The band most recently deified by the English music press, the Arctic Monkeys—four very young Sheffield men—likely do not care about expectations, as you’d venture from their debut album’s title, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not: a neat little summary of hype and alienation. One must strike with the hype, but these Monkeys are getting down to some cagey redressing in the process: If you really want to like us, sort us out. Properly.

The comparisons, from fans and a&r types alike, have been myriad, as if the Monkeys can only be understood in reference to something else: Manics, Libertines, the heartbreak of Ray Davies’s busted-down Britannia dreams, and the Stone Roses, whom the Monkeys resemble in a fondness for the oxymoronical moniker. But this is a band that realizes grand dreams are in some measure predicated on maintaining a certain aloofness about those same ambitions. Disaffection leads to an odd, almost extra-musical perception: the outsider looking in and having more to say about any given scene than the scenesters themselves milling about.

Songs like “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and “Fake Tales of San Francisco” have been Net-available for ages as demos because the band was savvy enough to leak them, escorting us into Stone Roses “She Bangs the Drums” territory: would-be anthems pitched to introspection rather than the yobo-sensibility of fists pumping in the air, though you can dance your ass off to this stuff. Alex Turner’s no vocal giant, and everyone’s bound to liken him to Jarvis Cocker—the wry observer signposting with his cleverly enunciated bits. But on tracks like “Mardy Bum,” Turner’s voice betrays a coy hedonism, an observer cracking himself up with the almost sad specificity of his observations. Lager chronicles, if you like. There are no gargantuan Oasis-isms here, and heed the prattle about “the band you’ve always been looking for” at your own risk. The Monkeys may sing about keeping everyone entertained, but come on—anyone who’s ever heard a classic debut album understands that’s got nothing to do with it. Tricksters.