Arctic Monkeys

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

U.K. music scribes have always been addicted to hype — but their ballyhooing of Arctic Monkeys is over-the-top even by their standards. The group couldn't live up to their praise if it featured Jesus on vocals and Mohammed on guitar. (We'd illustrate that, but we're fond of the building.) So it's hardly shocking that People falls short of absolute, metaphysical transcendence — yet the disc's pretty entertaining anyway.

The originality claims made on behalf of singer Alex Turner's lyrics falter the moment he tries to enhance the prostitute portrait "When the Sun Goes Down" by referencing the Police ("He told Roxanne to put on her red light"). Still, his words are typically sassy and sometimes ironic: The CD's first line is "Anticipation has the habit to set you up for disappointment." And if the music resembles the output of a dozen other Brit buzz bands, tracks such as "Dancing Shoes" are catchy and propulsive enough to overrule most objections.

Not that English critics have any. Jesus and Mohammed will just have to try harder next time.

 
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