Arctic Monkeys

Whatever People Say I Am That's What I Am Not (Domino)

SXSW Records

Arctic Monkeys

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I Am Not (Domino)

Much has been made of the fact that Arctic Monkeys' frontman and chief songwriter Alex Turner was only 15 when he formed this UK pop-punk steamroller, but what critics have failed to pick up on is the fact that this means he was probably 11 or so when he first dreamed of creating the band. You can hear that 11-year-old, too, alone in his bedroom before a cracked, dusty mirror, maniacally air-guitaring to the Clash's "Janie Jones" and wondering whatever happened to the lager-y zeal for clownish misbehavior that marked Oasis' landmark Definitely Maybe. Then he grew up, but thankfully not too much. The Artics' debut (the fastest seller in UK history) isn't nearly the second coming of punky power-pop that it's been heralded as, but it accomplishes plenty: smart lyrics evoking hometown Sheffield's dodgier aspects (illicit sex, drinking, the eternal search for both), an exhilarating sense of hooky guitar-driven fun (especially on catty debut singles "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and the boisterous "Dancing Shoes"), and a willingness to do whatever the fuck they like, trends be damned. That in itself is enough to qualify them for instant cool cred, whatever they say. (Friday, March 17, 12mid @ La Zona Rosa)


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