Hey hey, it's the Monkeys
Fair enough in the band's hometown, but reports today reckon it's set to be the fastest-selling debut album ever. Phil Penman, head of music at HMV: "It's remarkable how, in just a few months, the Arctic Monkeys have gone from being a cool local band promoted by their fans via the internet to a superstar act connecting with the wider record-buying public."
It is a good album and they are a good - potentially great - band. Lyrically, it's smart, funny, observational and specific in its language and subjects. Not quite up there yet with Pulp (or even maybe Relaxed Muscle), but immensely better than the homogeneous platitudes of the likes of Coldplay. Musically, pretty generic but raucous enough - the kind of thing the likes of the Frank & Walters used to knock out, and unchallenging enough for the Indie Dads to buy for the car (David Cameron will be seen with a copy, I predict).
So if they're basically the Fat Truckers with guitars, why the commercial success? Contrary to the received wisom, talent will not always out. Media hype must be a big part of it, particularly with the MP3-swapping-interweb angle that seemed to amaze traditional hacks. The band built up a dedicated fanbase through gigging and the net, but if that's all it took then They Came From The Stars would be number one (they might yet, of course, but it's taking them a long time to be overnight successes). Maybe also that early cultish success created something that the mainstream decided it wants to buy into, mediated by snowballing word-of-mouth until it reaches its cultural critical mass - but basically it's a matter of fashion, however you might want to dress it up in 'Tipping Point' buzzwords.
Anyway, blether aside, good work to the band, and don't let the glory turn you into wankers like Oasis.