Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Arctic Monkeys Catch on in States

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Arctic Monkeys Catch on in States

Article excerpt

Arctic Monkeys were a sensation in England even before the word "go." The Sheffield band's first album was hyped enough to become Britain's fastest-ever selling debut in 2005.

American audiences didn't have the same reaction to spastic indie/ punk chart-toppers "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "When the Sun Goes Down," and through the first four albums, the Monkeys have been more of a record-store geek band on this side of the Atlantic.

But the fifth album, simply titled, "AM," has been a charm, and with the tour that brings the band tonight to the sold-out Stage AE Outdoors, the venue sizes have doubled thanks to the single "Do I Wanna Know?"

"It went a lot better than we imagined it would," says drummer Matt Helders, who also does a share of vocals. "It got played on the radio a lot, and we never really had that in America, like a radio hit. Obviously, we made an effort to do something different with this record but not with the aim to break in America, by any means."

The drummer launches "Do I Wanna Know?" with a thumping hip-hop beat, soon joined by a fuzzy desert-rock guitar riff that's offset by Alex Turner's distinctively British vocal. They didn't know this would be the one, but "we were happy that we had a big song we were excited about when we listened back to it at the studio," the drummer says.

This is the third California album for Arctic Monkeys, who have taken up residence in Los Angeles.

"We've just really enjoyed working there," Mr. Helders says. "It's a great place to make a record and hang out as well. This time we were all living in the same area, within a mile of the studio, so it was collaborative. Everybody was equally involved."

Once again, you can hear the Josh Homme effect in "AM's" stoner- rock haze. The Queens of the Stone Age frontman co-produced the band's third album, "Humbug," and this time turned up for inspiration and backing vocals on two tracks.

"When we first got the opportunity to work with Josh we were amazed," Mr. Helders says. "We were all massive fans, thrilled to be around him, you know, thrilled that he wanted to work with us, and excited to see what he would do with our songs. …

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