19.1.06

[insert monkey-based pun here]

Usually, once I've made up my mind about a band, I'm pretty firm in my support for them. Through thick-ish, and thin-ish, I'll stand by my decision because I know I have the best music taste in the world. It's a burden that, at times, but I get by. But, occasionally I have to learn a lesson.

LESSON #1: Don't Judge A Band Based On One Song.

Ah, a chestnut. Say, for example, a band come out of seemingly nowhere into mass public consciousness. Say, for example, they go straight to number one. Normally, this is when my cynic sensors would be ringing (it's a cut little warbler deal like you'd find in a call centre, if you're wondering), and I'd be thinking, nah... There's something not right about this.
But say said sensors are drowned out by what is in fact a really good song, one that's danceable and fun, with a sense of humour and a wry take on life.

Alright, fairly obviously we're talking about those lovable Arctic Monkeys here. When 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' hit number one, I was pleased for them, and especially for Domino, their label - this was their first number one, and well done them, they're a label that have provided us with some awesome bands over the years.
But now I've listened to the album, I'm less enthusiastic, less... less impressed, to be honest. 'Whatever They Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' is the name of the album (they don't specialise in the concise - and it's out on Monday, on Domino. It's OK, let me clarify this, it's OK. My major issues are that there's no development in songs, they're all pretty much the same thing: a tight, muscular guitar riff; some very Northern vocals (probably over-exaggerated); clever clever word play and rhymes; a slightly patronising, let's see, down-with-the-commoners approach to the documenting of life in Sheffield...

The Arctic Monkeys have an average age of approximately eleven, which loses the irony of a song about a policeman asking them if they're old enough to drink. It's also kind of depressing that a band so young feel that they have to resort to such cynicism and tales of ribaldry to be noticed. It's depressing, because in effect, they're doing alternate words to a karaoke Libertines, and nobody, but nobody, wants to be doing that.

There's some fun moments on the album, but to summarise, they've taken a pretty tired sound and added absolutely nothing to it. In fact, what little of their own style they have begins to grate once you're past '... Dancefloor'. This is track 2.

Without wanting to sound obtuse, I'd categorise this as Fionda Music, which if you know what I mean, you know what I mean.

As an alternative, I'll proffer another South Yorkshire band, this from an album released in 1998. It's more powerful, it's more unique (a tautology? I mean, it's less like other bands than t' Monkeys), it's reference points belong to an era where Duane Eddy, the Jesus Lizard and the Melvins are an acceptable triple-bill.
History will record Groop Dogdrill as the greatest band ever from Doncaster, and most likely the world. This is from 'Half Nelson', released in 1998, and is just amazing. You have to get the album and it's follow-up 'Every Six Seconds'.
Jackie O

2 comments:

Em said...

"fionda music", eh? to tell her, or not to tell her.....

Oh Simone said...

It's common to all Fiondas. Tell away, I have no qualms with looking down at people for their music taste. It's my lifelong pleasure and purpose.