• Arctic Monkeys, 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' (Domino)

    "Anticipation has a habit to set you up for disappointment," or so goes the smarting first line from Arctic Monkeys' debut LP. Before the Sheffield upstarts had been around long enough to get slagged as a second-rate Jam rip, the British music press had already placed a crown in their cradle, making them fresh bait for industry bats and baby eaters. Thing is, the Monkeys know it. In the wake of uberclever Franz- fertilized guitar pop, their Next Big Thing full-length arrives decidedly un-NBT: blunt and bratty, emotionally pubescent even. While his American peers scrounge for fake IDs and mustaches, lead Monkey Alex Turner is content being 19, green-eared, and maybe a bit stupid. "Love's not only blind but deaf," he snaps on the basement funk-rock groove "Fake Tales of San Francisco," something of a TV cop theme for kids who grew up packing Nerf guns.

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