It’s been a decade since the boys from High Green changed a whole genre with one of the most powerful and exceptional debut LP’s “What Ever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”.
During that era, Alternative and Indie was receiving material from bands such as The Strokes, The Hives, The View, Bloc Party, Babyshambles, Dirty Pretty Things, Kasabian, just to name a few. Setting up what seemed to be a catapult for Arctic Monkeys to jump on and be released into the musical stratosphere.
In the wake of their debut they released a stand alone single “Leave Before the Lights Come On” and this, “Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys”. Its easy to tell straight away the impact their success from the debut had for them to release this, adequately titled EP.
Starting with their first track from the debut, “View From the Afternoon” starts with an uppercut. Tearing drum beats from Matthew Helders followed by distorting and thunderous chords from Cook & Turner. The second track “Cigarette Smoker Fiona” is actually a rerecorded demo track from the bands early days. Titled just “Cigarette Smoker” its easy to tell their roots are cemented in this track. Taking a tiny step backwards for the nostalgia of the small little band from Sheffield. Rhythmic, deep bass lines from ex member Andy Nichols carry the song forward. More penetrating drum beats from Helders to accompany. The use of roaring distortion towards the end of the song give it an epic feel. “Despair In The Departure Lounge” brings the EP down a lot of notches from the explosive beginning. However no less enchanting. The track is a clear reflection on the strains being in the most successful band in Britain. Turner’s lyrics are soul baring and heartfelt. A depiction of what his life has become like on the road and being away from someone he really cares about. Although the track is solely a stripped down guitar and his voice, it is as powerful as the first two. Sometimes when an artist tells you the meaning of a song it can ruin the magic, its mostly up to the listener to relate in their own way. With this track Turner is telling a story that is baring yet still alluring. To follow the theme the next track takes a similar suite. “No Buses” has much of the same affection as “Despair” does and also is backed with striped down guitar chords. Something that would make George Formby proud. But taking its own life as it works towards a full band ending. The song depicts what seems to be another heartbreak tale. As Turner tells another story of love and life.
The climax for the EP is the title of the EP itself. Another portrayal, however this time on maybe the fears and reservations of where their success will take them. With rhythms and captivating riffs similar to the other tracks on the EP. The hard hitting lyrics are also met by the whole band joining in for some intriguing harmonies. In true Monkeys fashion the song leads onto an epic ending with Helders thrashing a drum solo and the rest holding a glorious, twisting rhythmic riff.
This EP was a turning point in the bands career. It showed them for what they truly are and gave them real personality. That was hidden by record breaking sales figures at the time. As a group that shy away from the media spotlight and playing the interview, pop star game. This EP gave them even more depth and dimensions. No one is asking the question “Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys?” now!