Arctic Monkeys

Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?

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The Arctic Monkeys' second EP is anchored by "The View from the Afternoon," the only song here to show up on their 2006 debut Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, but the remaining four songs are strong, barbed, guitar rock that would've felt at home on the finished album. First up is the gnarled, nasty "Cigarette Smoker Fiona," which gives way to an effective showcase of Alex Turner's lyrical side on "Despair in the Departure Lounge," whose sparseness and distortion suggests a demo. "No Buses" trumps "Despair" due to its litheness -- this is the band at their swinging '60s best, only all the allusions are casual -- while the five-minute workout of the title shows the group's facility with syncopated rhythms and multi-tiered structures. It's not as heavy as the Humbug that would come later, but it points in that general direction.

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