30 August 2009

The Bandwagon: The Easiest Way To Scrape Your Knees

Today the Observer Review has published an article by Hermione Hoby about the Arctic Monkeys live in Brixton. Now, I hope I am not the only one who thinks that Hermione is trying to jump on the bandwagon as I cannot imagine her ever listening intently to the music of the Monkeys day after day or singing along like the crowd did at the gig itself. The whole review felt like a point-scorer after her stint in the comments section about how (young) women still need feminism (of course we do, dear, we don't need to be told that).
First mistake: claiming that the whole of their third album was recorded and produced by Josh Homme in the American desert. Er, no, actually only about 2/3 of the album was - this is a simple mistake to make of course. Well actually it isn't. Listening to the Sheffield four-piece work their way through the majority of the album in their Reading set last night, it's obvious that while some songs have benefited from Homme's Americanised, yet more nuanced approach, some songs still contain the raw energy and thrashing style of the previous albums, suggesting even to somebody who didn't know about Homme's involvement that there was more than one engineer/producer on the project.
Which brings me nicely to mistake number two: Hoby suggests that every song contains the thrashing style that made the Monkeys famous in the first place. Poor Hoby has shot herself in the foot. Like last night, the Monkeys started their Brixton set with "My Propeller", a dark and heavy song bursting at the seams with double entendres, metaphors and sexual innuendo. The slow build up leads nicely into the first single from "Humbug", "Crying Lightning". Even that doesn't have the Monkeys' 'signature sound' or at least, it is shoved in the background to leave Turner to get on with his singing rather than having his lyrics drowned out by noise. Old songs were in rather short supply, and if the Monkeys showed the same semi-apathy for their old hits as they did at Reading last night then surely there is no reason to suggest to people that they haven't moved on.
Third mistake: the hair. Oh, who really gives a monkeys (no pun intended) about the fact that Alex Turner has grown his hair? Trying to say that his longer hair shows a progression into manhood out of adolescence is even worse! It's childish and pretentious at the same time like giggling at someone's locks in the schoolyard just because it's different to yours or looks "silly" or "rubbish". Get over it. If the hair must be talked about, attribute it to the fact that Turner has so obviously cast off the shackles of his working-class roots and (possibly) been bullied by his it-girl beau Alexa Chung into looking less like a chav and more like a proper rock star. Okay, it's probably more like that it was Alexa and not Alex denying where he comes from - he doesn't seem like the type.
Please please please Hermione! Stick to what you know; actually, what is that exactly?

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