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Arctic Monkeys Mark II – is there anyone better?

Dylan Strain reviews the band’s new EP

New album, new producers, newish bass player and lastly a new logo, which coupled with this sleeve, gives you a clue to The Arctic Monkeys’ new sound. Gone is their take on a punk sound and in comes a harder rock bent, largely due to The Queens Of The Stone Age maybe, who the band are fans of.

Artic Monkeys BrianstormComparisons with The Smiths’ career path continue. Here are quality ‘B sides’ that could grace many a band’s album line up. If you found this it’s probably too late cheekily suggests over frenetic guitars that if you’re just getting into us, it might be game over and you may be a bit late mate.

Brianstorm questions the character of narcissistic mover, shaker and user Brian, whoever he is. This number seems to have foxed many (including me) as to why it’s a single. But it does prove to be a grower, with criss-cross chopped up guitar lines impressing on repeated plays.

Temptation greets you like your naughty friend (a story of two people trying not to end up in bed) slows the pace a bit. The lyrics are top draw and Dizzee Rascal turns up on this, turning in a bit of rap for the track, which is oddly comic and doesn’t work for me.

To close, heavy guitars thump away on the classy, What if you were right first time? This seems to have Alex taunt some boy fuelling paranoia over a girlfriend who’s away long distance. Quality Sheffield steel.

I saw them at The Astoria earlier this month and wasn’t disappointed. The band managed to keep all comers at bay with 19 tunes in all, eight of them new ones. This was the ultimate gig for the play station generation (me included) who lack attention span. Not a dull moment to be had, as the band sped up all the debut album numbers adding punch to as classy a roster of songs as only a few bands manage in an entire career spanning years.

Alex T did look bored early on though, going through the motions, whilst the massed throng had their sing-along. I was surprised the band weren’t louder too, given that they love the full on rock works.

Between songs some Tottenham fans let the room know of their devotion to a team with a lost season behind them - again; Alex expertly makes them titter and then shut up, done with some choice, to-the-point language.

Of the new tunes, the bouncy Teddy Picker stood out, as did guitar laden riff fest
If You Were There, Beware with its nice nod to The Smiths This Charming Man,due to its light guitar adding yin to the yang of the main killer guitar stab. The new songs are not so immediate in terms of hooks as the debut LP, given the new multi-layered Sergio Leone on 78 rpm style rock of Arctic Monkeys Mark Two.

The band finished with oft used perfect set end, A Certain Romance. Crescendo achieved - poetry, romance and big heavy guitars and over and out. No encore, we were left wanting more. Is there a bigger or better band in Britain?

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