Domino - 2006 - 42 minutes
As you get older the phrase 'the next big thing' is greeted with the same amount of enthusiasm as Mondays, goats cheese or anything involving Pete Doherty. This combination of cynicism, apathy and stubborness can mean that you go out of your way to miss out on a good thing (Mondays, goats cheese and anything involving Pete Doherty excepted) and in the case of the Arctic Monkeys that would be a disservice to you and them.
Black Sabbath recording their first album in eight hours, Nirvana getting 'Bleach' on tape for $606.17, DJ Shadow re-writing the rulebook with Entroducing' - all remarkable achievements for debut albums. 'Whatever...' deserves its own special place too, made as it was when a band were so close under the media magnifying glass that you'd swear you could see the washing instructions on their shirts.
Had this album been a letdown it wouldn't have been that surprising. Instead it's everything that modern music often forgets to be: funny, memorable and gutsy. Built around a stripped down production, it's a revelation to discover just what a tough outfit Arctic Monkeys are and that their sound could see them hold their own beside punk and hardcore bands or whoever the press decide to deem as their peers or rivals. And once you've finished either humming along or berating yourself for never having learned to play something properly, then make some time for frontman Alex Turner's lyrics - why they're not printed on the inlay is a mystery.
'Whatever...' takes its title from the Albert Finney-starring 1960s classic 'Saturday Night, and Sunday Morning'. Right now it's fair to say Arctic Monkeys offer up plenty for the former but very little for the latter. That will come in time, however, and with it even better tales of big nights and in-between days from Turner. Until then enjoy an album that's better than nearly anyone could have expected.
Tracklisting: The View from the Afternoon - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor - Fake Tales of San Francisco - Dancing Shoes - You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights But You Were Staring Straight at Me - Still Take You Home - Riot Van - Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured - Mardy Bum - Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But... - When The Sun Goes Down - From the Ritz to the Rubble - A Certain Romance