Socialist Worker

Evolving Arctic Monkeys leave their Sheffield roots behind

by Tom Kay
Issue No. 2372

The Arctic Monkeys took the charts by storm and put Sheffield back on the musical map with their debut six years ago.

I can remember being proud that a band of working class lads from an estate in Sheffield were making this kind of music.

They revelled in putting to music the social commentary familiar to a lot of young people—run ins with the police, life on the estate and awkward attempts at love. They spoke like us, making the word “mardy” a national treasure. 

Since then their musical development has been inspiring. New album AM continues an unbroken run of chart toppers—and sets a new record for bands without a major label behind them.

It’s hard not to be impressed, from the drudging riff in album opener Do I Wanna Know? through to the almost hip-hop drumming in Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?

Frontman Alex Turner’s lyrics seem to improve with each new album they produce. And the band were magnificent at the Glastonbury festival as Turner wooed the crowd.

But I can’t help but think that they’ve lost the very thing that endeared them to me and other young people in the city—their pride in their roots.

They’ve now moved to Los Angeles, keeping only the Sheffield 0114 area code on their kick drum cover as a small reminder of their past.

It’s undeniably brilliant, but it’s starting to sound a bit hollow.

AM. Arctic Monkeys, Domino records

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Reviews
Tue 24 Sep 2013, 17:50 BST
Issue No. 2372
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