Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not [Domino, 2006]
The great thing about this album is how untranscendent it is, as if these lads know the guitar-band pleasures are cons. Sing-along tunes? Breakneck momentum? Next-big-thing ambition? Saturday-night swindles every one. Instead Alex Turner and crew evoke club life as it is actually experienced. They sound like not knowing the doorman, like moving on a girl you think isn't pretty enough, like missing the bus in a leather jacket that doesn't keep out the cold. Many details are too U.K.-specific for Yank-yob gratification. But aesthetes will come to enjoy Turner's nuanced adenoids and his bandmates' thought-through arrangements. A-