By Arctic Monkeys
How many million sales exactly? It beggars belief, it really does. Sorry to break yer suit jacket and jeans-wearing hearts kids, but it's time someone said the truth about this - the Arctic Monkeys are simply Not Very Good.
There's plenty of cheap slings and arrows I could use this review to throw at this band - the fact that they look like a cross between the Baja Beach Club In-House Indie Band and Level 42 for a start - but this being a music review, I'll stick to criticising the music. I'll admit this from the start, I've never seen what the hype about this lot was right from day one - they've always seemed to me like a poor man's Kaiser Chiefs, combining the witless approach to songwriting of the Libertines with botched sub-Mike Skinner lyricisms and avoiding the concept of half-memorable tunes like the plague. And this new EP backs things up - it's anodyne, dull, unambitious - basically everything that great music is not.
Let's take opening track "The View From The Afternoon" shall we? Over a sub-Babyshambles calamity of crap production and a tune which sounds as if no-one's introduced this band to the concept of timekeeping, lead singer Alex Turner sings in that slightly irritating mewl also beloved of messrs Doherty and Barat about how he's got nothing better to than but sit in the pub all afternoon watching people getting drunk. Later in the EP, he will turn his three-note vocal range whinging to such subjects as cigarette-smoking chavs, bus stations and (oh jeez) how much he hates being famous on the title track. Awww diddums Alex, tell ya what, if you hate it that much, I know a bloke down MY local who'll happily take your place touring the country playing music and scoring as many drugs and groupies as humanly possible and you can take his job working at the supermarket packing plant here. Interested? Thought not somehow.
In Alex Turner's mind, he's a cross between Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker, in reality he possesses about a zot of the songwriting skill and insight of either. What he's crucially overlooked is that great rock 'n' roll isn't just a mirror to wallow in your own misery, it's about transcending your everyday hardships and creating something special, either through the route of escapism (someone please buy this band a copy of "Ziggy Stardust" before it's too late) or, as Jarv did on "Common People" and Mozzer did on "Every Day Is Like Sunday", turning it into something truly affecting to capture people's hearts and minds. Arctic Monkeys do neither. This band aren't visionaries, they're the most inept breed of musical cutpurses, pilfering from several half-decent shades of music and, clearly not knowing what to do with their ill-gotten gains, wringing every single drop of colour out of them until all that's left is a dull grey husk.
Sadly the Arctic Monkeys appear to be a product of these less than inspiring times that we live in where ambition and eloquence are frowned upon in favour of this horrible "anti-star" ethos and the limit of most of the NME-indebted indie fraternity's ambition is to make themselves just as dull, grey and anonymous as the next person. How the hell else would a group called the Ordinary Boys become a Top 5 tabloid sensation? (look, just don't get me started on them okay?) It's been a long spiral downwards, from Oasis to the Libertines to the Ordinary Boys to Babyshambles and finally this. I'm just hoping that the Arctic Monkeys represent the very bottom of this particular barrel being scraped and that soon something will come along to inject a bit of ambition and, more crucially, fun and excitement back into guitar music so we can nuke the careers of these stuck-up dullards. But until then folks, I'm afraid we must suffer. More bloody fool us.