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Friday, April 7, 2006

Bring on the backlash say Arctic Monkeys

Staff writer

It must be difficult to carry the weight of the rock world's expectations on your shoulders, but Sheffield, England's Arctic Monkey's held up well Tuesday night at Studio Coast in eastern Tokyo. Giving Japan a quick preview tour in advance of their headline performances this summer at Summer Sonic, the band blitzed through their debut album and a couple new tunes in just over 60 minutes.

News photo
Matt Helders (left) and Alex Turner of the Artic Monkeys perform Tuesday night at Studio Coast.

While several indie bands sprang fully formed out of bloggers' buzz and Internet file-sharing, Arctic Monkeys took it further, grabbing headlines this year when their debut "What Ever You Think I Am, That's What I'm Not" recorded the fastest ever sales in its first week of release.

As with any band this hot, there is enormous pressure to prove themselves on the road, and terrific potential for a backlash. At Ageha, their set was as good as the hype. They sounded creative in their mix and match compositions, but not too ambitious -- only really loosening up on "Maybe Vampires is a Bit Strong . . ." with an extended coda.

As for the backlash, the band seems to have made it part of their strategy: On April 24, they are coming out with a new EP smartly titled "Who the F**k Are Arctic Monkeys?" (from which they played "Despair in the Departure Lounge") and they've said that they have enough songs to head back to the studio for a second album. With a promised change in sound, the Summer Sonic shows should bring more new material, and chance to see if they'll continue their ascent to the Brit-pop crown, or simply become another casualty of the machine.

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