Friday, January 13, 2006

Arctic monkeybusiness

Must admit, holed up here thousands of miles away from civilization (what is this Celebrity Big Brother of which you speak?) I've kinda missed the Arctic Monkeys. But Alexis Petridis claims to have them nailed:

"Meanwhile, Arctic Monkeys' sound is based entirely on music from the past five years," he says in today's Graun. "The laconic, distorted vocals bear the influence of the Strokes. The choppy punk-funk guitars have been filtered through Franz Ferdinand, the frantic rhythms and dashes of ska come via the Libertines."

The question, is - how does he know? How can he tell that the Strokes, FF and the Libertines are the direct influences, rather than any of the acts that have been tipped as influences on these three (say, Blondie, Joy Division, XTC, Costello, Gang of Four, The Clash, Small Faces...)

Of course, sometimes the act of "tribute" is so brazen that the direct link is clear. Remember when Will Young blethered on about covering "Light My Fire by the Doors" when his version was a strum-by-strum Xerox of Jose Feliciano's version? It was so accurate it could have appeared on one of those Top Of The Pops compilations (never mind the studio hackery, check out the cleavage on the cover). But unless one of the Monkeys actually goes on record and hails Julian Casablancas as one of the founding fathers of rock n roll, we'll have to presume that the band's sound is simply a distillation of 50 years or more of pop history, certainly encompassing the Strokes and the Libertines, but also Oasis, Slade, Dr Dre, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Engelbert Humperdinck, Neu!, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Jive Bunny, Nurse With Wound, Waylon Jennings and Il Divo.

It's called postmodernism, stupid!

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