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ARCTIC MONKEYS - WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THAT'S WHAT I'M NOT- EMI VIRGIN
Record Rating: *****

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not- EMI Virgin The Arctic Monkeys built up their fan base on the internet, after the demo CDs they handed out at gigs were put on the web for other people to hear. Following the word-of-mouth hysteria and buzz created, the major record labels soon lined up to court them. They soon secured a record deal and went into the studio to lay down a full length CD.

Titled Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, itís made this quartet from Sheffield, England nothing short of a phenomenon. For one itís become the fastest-selling debut album in UK chart history, after it debuted at #1 in January selling more than 360,000 copies. First single I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor went straight to the top as well, and itís become a sizeable modern rock hit, in part thanks to the song's cutting-edge video. You may find it hard to believe that lead singer Alex Turner, guitarist Jamie Cook, ex-bassist Andy Nicholson, and drummer Matt Helders are all only 19 or 20 years old, and theyíre being hailed as the next Beatles! But letís end that ~ they aren't the greatest band in the world, not yet at least. For a band thatís been as hyped as the Arctic Monkeys, theyíre guilty of emphasizing style over subject matter. But they do it so well you know that this band has a future ahead of them. Full of crafty witticisms, they cover the musical waterfront, from the Clash inspired sweaty sexual innuendo of Dancing Shoes, to punked out angular guitar work on The View From The Afternoon (the Sex Pistols would have been proud), to an Ď80s bass line on the sure to be single Mardy Bum. What makes one keep going back to the CD for repeated listens are moments like the pretty, jangly When The Sun Goes Down (another UK #1) and the ska pop driven A Certain Romance, which really could have been at home on a classic Madness LP.

If the Arctic Monkeys have songs this good in them, they're kind of selling themselves short here with this effort. For what keeps this from being a long-playing classic is the runtime of less than 40 minutes; itís over by the time youíve begun to settle in. And while this debut doesn't burn with the same intensity of Oasisís first effort (to whom the Arctic Monkeys are constantly being compared), it has a vital energy in a different league of its own. The upshot ~ Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not is a very solid album from the new emerging rock genre that deserves to be listened to. Its money well spent.

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