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Coolness of the Arctic Monkeys

Sinister forces have been pressurising me to write this week?s column on the top movie soundtracks of all time. I know the Oscars are breathing down heavily on us.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 02:35 IST

Sinister forces have been pressurising me to write this week’s column on the top movie soundtracks of all time. I know the Oscars are breathing down heavily on us. I also know that jury members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences have been sending emissaries disguised as press-wallas and electricians to my house to know my opinion about this year’s nominations. But I will never go so low as to slip in the Bappi Lahiri-Usha Uthup ball-buster, Koi Yahan Nache Nache from Disco Dancer, into the list of greatest movie soundtracks — as I’m being subtly asked to do by people who will remain anonymous. So, I will stay clear of any soundtrack list and concentrate on something else: the Arctic Monkeys.

There has been much buzz about this Sheffield quartet already, and if it weren’t for me listening to the Monkeys’ debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I'm Not, I would have believed that yet another giant bee’s been let loose from a music company’s PR lab.

Don’t be fooled by frontman Alex Turner's track suit ’n’ trainers get up. His music is North England straight-up rock with all the focus of urban rap music.

Quarter a generation after Nineties Brit Pop, the Monkeys have started where bands like Blur and Pulp (not to mention the Gallagher Bros.) had stopped. In The View From the Afternoon, morning starts from a low-voltage dive with low-voltage yearnings: “I want to see all of the things that we’ve already seen.”

The hit single, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor is ironic rock’n’roll and there’s the violence of demolished buildings in the song. In When the Sun Goes Down, the Monkeys paint the red light and when Turner sings, “He told Roxanne to put on her red light/ It’s all infected, but he’ll be all right”, we’re all buying him the next drink for putting Gordon Summer (as opposed to the Police or Sting) in his place.

There’s a gritty feel to the Monkeys’ music and while the numbers have the hooks and the nails, it’s more than just a non-poseur version of Franz Ferdinand. As for which motion picture their music would suit best as a soundtrack, I would say a urbanised, inner-city, graffiti-sprayed version of Sound of Music. For the streets come alive with the sound of their guitar-driven music.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 02:35 IST