The indie British rockers were the hottest band on the scene about five years ago when their first two singles topped the UK chart and their debut album set a new record for the fastest selling debut release.
Buoyed by the aforementioned hits “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and “When the Sun Goes Down,” the Arctic Monkeys were hailed as the new Oasis by Britain’s music press.
Critics warmed to their witty lyrics about prostitution, drunkenness and run-ins with the police, and tickets for their shows quickly sold out on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Oasis comparison did not quite work out and the hype inevitably faded as other bands moved into the spotlight. But the Sheffield foursome still managed to top the UK album charts with its two follow-up releases, and maintained a respectable foothold in the United States.
Lead singer Alex Turner and drummer Matt Helders, both 25, recently spoke to Reuters about their fourth album, “Suck It and See,” which was released worldwide this week.
Q. Is this new album more a vintage sound?
A. Turner: “I suppose you could say that. The recording techniques were a little bit more traditional. We did a lot of live takes, with the four of us playing and we wanted to get a human feel to it.”
Q. Is it more mellow perhaps than previous albums?
A: Turner: “In parts, but I think it’s pretty frantic at times as well, you know. It has its moments that are a bit more like the chimey guitar thing, like reverberated out that occurs in quite a lot of the songs and I suppose that does give it quite a mellow aspect. I guess probably compared with the first two, it is not as fast and crazy as they were. But it has moments like that - bit of both.”
Q. Your music has not taken off here in the U.S. as it has in the UK. Is that because you don’t cozy up enough to the right people or?
A. Helders: I don’t know, maybe that is what is missing (laughs).
Turner: “Our last album (2009’s “Humbug”) went down pretty well over here, we seem to get a good response to that. We have never had a bad response to any of our records or new albums, it has grown the more and more we have come back over here.”
Q. Regarding your many initial comparisons to Oasis, are you disappointed to not have had the same success in the U.S.?
A. Turner: “Not really, I mean, it’s like we’re both a British rock and roll band, we’re kind of bound to get compared to Oasis in other countries, we are both from the North, similar haircut a little bit, personally. But musically, it is a little bit different. I mean, we are huge fans of them, growing up and all that, they were a really important band for us and still sort of - more now. So I’m not, I don’t mind being compared to Oasis at all.”
Q. You were one of the first groups to use the Internet to get your name out there. Is it harder now?
A. Helders: “We never really understood that when it happened to us. It wasn’t a conscious decision we made to use that as the way to get people to listen to the music.”
A: Turner: “What we were doing was trying to make something good and play it well and do good shows. And I think regardless of what is going on Internet wise, now or five years ago, that is what people should still try and do. That is all we did. And some people got hold of it and shared it using that tool. That was the time when all that started happening. If it had been ten years before, it would have been a demo cassette where they just said. ‘Come round to my house, I have found this band that I really like the songs and you should hear it.’ It accelerated all of that.”
Reporting by Alicia Powell and Christine Kearney, Editing by Dean Goodman