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Arctic Monkeys 

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (Domino)

U.K. music scribes have always been addicted to hype, but the genuflection over the British quartet is a bit too breathless, even by their standards. The chart-topping Arctic Monkeys couldn't live up to the praise heaped on them if they were fronted by Jesus and Mohammed. (Please, no cartoons!) So it's hardly shocking that their full-length debut falls short of absolute, metaphysical transcendence. Still, it's pretty entertaining.

The herky-jerky rhythms and the stabbing peals of guitar that accent them simmer with snotty, punkish energy, while singer Alex Turner's lyrics are typically sassy and sometimes ironic: The album opens with the suggestion that "anticipation has the habit to set you up for disappointment." If the music resembles the output of a dozen other Brit buzz bands (Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party), tracks such as "Dancing Shoes" are catchy and propulsive enough to overrule most objections.

More by Michael Roberts

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