Arctic Monkeys: Alex Turner (vocals, guitar); Jamie Cook (guitar); Andy Nicholson (bass guitar); Matt Helders (drums).
Reportedly the fastest-selling debut in British history at the time of its early-2006 release, the Arctic Monkeys' WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THAT'S WHAT I'M NOT is a brash, hook-filled album that immediately warrants music fans' attention, if perhaps not all of the pre-release hype. Clearly taking notes on the evolution of U.K. punk, the Sheffield-based band reveal the influence of revered predecessors such as the Jam and the Clash, while most notably evoking the Libertines in their youthful, hood-rat persona. On this hyperactive 13-track set, singer/guitarist Alex Turner is armed with an arsenal of sharply observed middle-class narratives (a la the Streets), which are propelled by wiry guitar lines and formidable rhythms that, at times, verge on funk (see Bloc Party). Highlights of this much-lauded disc include the raucous "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor," the woozy "Riot Van" (one of the record's few quieter moments), and the lurching "When the Sun Goes Down." Like Franz Ferdinand's scruffier (and considerably less effete) kid brothers, the Arctic Monkeys prove that the hyperbole of the U.K. music press occasionally has roots in an impressive reality.
Rolling Stone (p.87) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The unassuming foursome of nineteen- and twenty-year-olds specializes in propulsion, momentum and repetition -- in succinct riffs and snarly, wordy lyrics..."
Rolling Stone (p.104) - Ranked #17 in Rolling Stone's "The Top 50 Albums Of 2006" -- "[G]arage-punk nuggets built in the grim steel town of Sheffield."
Spin (p.62) - Ranked #03 in Spin's "The 40 Best Albums of 2006" -- "Beneath the scenester cool and post-Pavement guitar fuzz. WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM is exuberant teenage garage pop..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.60) - "Guitars and drums ricochet off each other; riffs are bounced around like soccer balls. With their kicky hooks, the songs owe more to Warped Tour thrashers than to stoic post-punk inspirations..." -- Grade: A-
Q (p.126) - Ranked #1 in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of 2006" -- "[B]ristling with energy and plugged into the era's social conditions and colloquialisms."
Uncut (p.86) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "Alex Turner's breathless delivery is faultless, a foaming cocktail of lust and longing, occasionally brimming over into Costello-esque rage."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Fashion and hype be damned -- this is thrilling, incontrovertible evidence of a major new talent in our midst."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.56) - Ranked #82 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "Arctic Monkeys delivered a debut bristling with Modish urgency and teenage angst."
Clash (magazine) (p.74) - "[T]here really was no doubt that in this modern punk and hip-hop inspired vignette of reality bites, and Northern colloquialisms, the Monkeys had defined the zeitgeist..."