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2006-02-08 - 10:23 a.m.

There are only two areas where British people don't tower over Americans: dentistry and their music press, which seems to be hysterical, short-sighted, and addicted to hype.

So it was with great caution that I approached the Arctic Monkeys, who are currently the most ballyhooed band in the UK right now, as famous for their sales figures as for their punky dance music.

I have to say...this album is nowhere near as bad as I had secretly hoped. The songs are catchy and more complex than they have a right to be ("Riot Van" especially), and the musicianship is surprisingly deft--drummer Matt Helders is certainly the best drummer amongst the current crop of angsty Brit bands, and the guitars are doin' some really neat things as well.

So, ignore the hype and enjoy the album before the Strokes-like backlash renders them obsolete once more.

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