Pumping On Mi Stereo: Arctic Monkeys – Who the F*ck Are Arctic Monkeys

What’s been pumping on mi stereo this month?

Unfortunately, we couldn’t squeeze my choice into the latest mag (I forgot to send it over). However, this month I’ve been listening to those Arctic Monkey chaps, back when their ‘look’ mainly consisted of polo shirts with collars upturned, Adidas hoodies and Alex getting all shy in interviews.

You see, sometimes I get this little twinge of nostalgia, and the only way I can fill the void is by popping in a pair of earphones and transporting myself back to the mid-noughties, my teen years, when The Boardwalk was swinging and our city was riding a wave of talented local acts, with the Arctics very much at the crest of it all.

As we all know, the band have gone onto bigger and better things: they’ve experimented, adapted and grown into one of the biggest rock bands on the planet. I must say that, as a High Green lad, it’s been a pleasure watching their ascendency to the top.

But, after listening to this record for the first time in yonks, I’ve realised that their recent stuff, no matter how cool or flawless or brilliantly produced it may sound, will never have the same kind of impact on me. It just doesn’t seem to pack that raw punch anymore. I’d hazard a guess that I’m not the only Sheffielder who feels this way, either.

So, here’s my choice, muckers. Let me know what you think.

Arctic Monkeys – Who the F*ck Are Arctic Monkeys? (2006)

Without a doubt, this is my favourite Monkeys record to date. Granted, AM was a well-polished triumph, and Suck It and See showcased Turner’s lyrical mastery on a higher level, but this 2006 EP saw the band in their earliest conception: moody, scruffy jeaned youths who sang about nights out in Sheffield and tossers in the music industry.

Now fabulously wealthy, preened to perfection and taking song-writing inspiration from their Los Angeles surroundings, the band reside in a different stratosphere to the one which saw them rock The Boardwalk with the brash, ranting sounds of the superb ‘Cigarette Smoker Fiona’ – a song about rich girls in big houses that features as the EP’s second track. However, for me, the strongest song on the recording is the unforgivably dissenting tune which lends the EP its name. One cannot help but crack a smile as Turner laments: “Oh, in five years time, will it be ‘who the f*ck’s Arctic Monkeys?’”

No, Al, you’ll be headlining Benicassim. That oreyt?

Joe Food.  @JosephFood

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