Posts Tagged ‘Alex Turner’

A belated return to the world of blog posting here at Riot on the Radio is sparked by the much-discussed acceptance speech made by Alex Turner at last week’s Brits ceremony for British Album of the Year.

With accusations flying round of Turner being “pretentious” and a “pompous tool” I would like take this opportunity to defend the enigmatic Arctic Monkeys‘ frontman.

First and foremost, Alex Turner hails from High Green, Sheffield. Since when has anyone from Yorkshire ever been accused of being pretentious? Belligerent, stubborn and opinionated maybe but pretentious… Lest we forget this is a breed of human that refers to what a southern softy may label a “roll” as a “breadcake”, the second syllable of which is drawn out longer than a five-day match of test cricket.

Secondly, so what if Turner didn’t conform to stereotype and deliver the inevitably dull, automated thank you message that characterised most of the night’s winning acts. Was it not refreshing to hear an unrehearsed lyric-worthy reel hailing the resilience of rock music? More to the point, Turner comically alluded to what most will interpret as any non-rock ‘n’ roll genre as “sludge”. For that he deserves a slap on the back not round the face! Let’s face it – those most critical of Turner are most likely to be the sort who listen/acclaim to the kind of Black Treacle tosh that typifies 21st century chart music. 

Thirdly and finally, so maybe he did go on about 20 seconds too long but Turner isn’t a stand-up comedian with a born sense of timing. Such a mishap is inevitable for an off-the-cuff speech. Leeway has to be granted to the boy, whom with humour and humility, famously accepted the 2006 Mercury Prize with the opening line, “Someone call 999, Richard Hawley’s been robbed!”

No. Alex Turner deserves praise not persecution. In Turner’s embodiment we have arguably this generation’s only true musical genius. With David Bowie collecting the Best Male Solo on the night, I would expect nothing less than Turner to one day go on to receive the lifetime achievement award; following in the footsteps of Weller and co.

Rock ‘n’ roll is in rude health ladies and gentleman with Alex Turner at the helm. As Alex points out, Britain’s best-loved genre is once again primed to “smash through the glass ceiling looking better than ever. Yeah that rock ‘n’ roll. It seems like it’s fading away sometimes but it will never die.”

Amen.

Bromheads Jacket are another raw Sheffield [-adopted] indie band formed in 2005, closely associated with acts like Arctic Monkeys and Milburn.

Frontman Tim Hampton has ties with the outspoken Jon McClure of Reverend & The Makers. He featured on their groovy first album track Bandits whilst also composing the album’s title song The State of Things.

The Bromheads clockwise: Dan (drums), Tim (vocals, guitar) & Jono (bass). Photo: Andy Brown

Slated by Guardian reviewer Leonie Cooper, Bromheads Jacket’s 2006 debut Dits From The Commuter Belt proved popular in other [non arty-farty] circles. Alex Turner, for example, professed his approval of the record. What contrasting fortunes the two songwriters and bands have had.

Tim can be spotted at underground venue hangouts like The Harley in Sheffield. Meanwhile Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders reportedly owns The Bowery on Devonshire Green just down the road.

Below are a selection of the best tunes taken from Dits…

One Nautical Mile – bass line hook, heavy riff, clashing cymbals, cracking lyrics – “like a Christmas tree lit up through the air … I’ve heard the poppadoms are moist … let’s do one next time and get a kebab”

 

Poppy Bird – an emotive ballad about a Walthamstow gem whom rides the London underground.

 

What If’s And Maybe’s – a 100mph crash, bang, wallop of a song.

 

Now a garage two-piece, Bromheads can be found on Myspace here

Suck It And See

Arctic Monkeys

Domino Records

Released: 06/06/2011

Suck It And See, the fourth full-length album by the Arctic Monkeys arrives amidst strangely little hype and speculation. Considering the lukewarm reception from their fanbase to the third offering Humbug perhaps this isn’t surprising. A blatantly uncreative album cover suggests the Sheffield four-piece are basking in their newfound low profile. The provocative album title provides satirical continuity with Humbug; a concept lost in the USA where the moniker has received censorship.

A quick glance at the rear reveals songs entitled ‘Serenade, Waltz, Love and Shalalala’ leading you to wonder if they have produced a 50/60’s revival record. With Johnny Cash and The Byrds noted as influences this may not be too far off the mark. “We wanted it to be song-based this time” explains Alex Turner whose adventurous lyrics never disappoint.

‘It’s riffs, loud, funny’ states the front cover of one music magazine. “There’s definitely a sense of humour in this record” confirms Turner. “Lately I’ve been seeing things, belly button piercings” he amusingly observes in Black Treacle, a viscous yet sumptuous metaphor for the sky.

Omnipresent features of Suck It And See are Jamie Cook’s guitar chimes which twinkle and fade charmingly in the backdrop of Turner’s smooth vocals.

Enigmatically-named, The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala is a sparkling sing-song that resembles the jangling Cornerstone. “I took the batteries out my mysticism and put ‘em in my thinking cap” croons Turner. The beautifully-composed Reckless Serenade tells the tale of romantic encounters with “the type of kisses where teeth collide”. The soppy situations are further ventured in the enchanting choruses of That’s Where You’re Wrong. “She looks as if she’s blowing a kiss at me and suddenly the sky is a scissor”.

Turner’s metaphorical ingenuity continues in Love Is A Laserquest and the harmonious title track Suck It And See where love is likened to a “studded leather headlock”.

In contrast to the overriding story-telling theme, a trio of songs stick out like a white man in Hammersmith Palais. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair is a sole link to the bass-heavy rock reminiscent of the Homme-inspired Humbug. “Do the Macarena in the devil’s lair” Turner rhymes playfully in a dark 3 minutes. Library Pictures is a reminder that the Arctic Monkeys used to write quick indie tracks. The punchline “… or an ip, dip, dogshit rock and roll” cues an electrifying riff backed by Matt Helders’ Offspring-style drum thrashing. The most anomalous track is the lyrically one-dimensional pre-release Brick By Brick which sees Helders assume lead vocals in a new construction.

Having tasted the whole contents though it’s clear Suck It And See has a soft, beguiling centre. The dominant flavour of this selection is more Last Shadow Puppets minus the orchestral element than pre-Humbug era guitar solos. This is a fine demonstration of warming melodies coupled to the words of a maturing lyricist. Long gone are the youthful songs about dirty dancefloors and dreams of naughtiness. The Arctic Monkeys have evolved into huggy bears.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Do you like this review or have an alternative view of Messeurs Turner, Cook, O’Malley and Helders’ fourth installment?

@ Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield

10/06/2011

Waltzing on stage to Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing, Sheffield’s prodigal sons embrace their homecoming crowd. “Tonight there’ll be some love” Alex Turner promises during the evening’s opener The View From The Afternoon. With Turner sporting a t-shirt featuring the Sheffield City Council emblem, tonight’s gig indeed bears all the hallmarks of an affectionate reunion. “Who’s from High Green?” he later quizzes the 10,000-odd faithful herded into the band’s specially-erected tent, to a decent response.

The selection of The Full Monty title track is a stroke of genius. Whether or not it’s an improvised selection in response to Miles Kane’s largely mediocre support set is open to debate. Either way it immediately has the expectant fans boogying and in full voice which is important after their poorly received 2009 Reading & Leeds headlining performances. And to further silence the doubters the Monkeys blister through an opening quartet of “early” songs including the wall of sound that is Brianstorm and the irresistible solos of Still Take You Home.

The term “early” is now synonymous with the pre-Humbug era of Arctic Monkeys discography. That Josh Homme-influenced third album recorded in the Mojave ironically deserted a substantial proportion of the Arctic’s fanbase and is thus reflected in the inclusion tonight of only three numbers from its sleeve. Conversely the material from the newly released fourth attempt Suck It And See blends in seamlessly. The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala in particular complements the chimes of Cornerstone and a rare, celebrated acoustic version of Mardy Bum, when the Monkeys decide to “slow things down”.

The bulk of the set leans on the first two albums with Nick O’Malley’s basslines reverberating around the tent interior on Teddy Picker and If You Were There, Beware. It doesn’t take a sharp eye to tell that the youthful exuberance and passion are absent from the inevitable renditions of When The Sun Goes Down and I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor. The quartet must loathe playing the two club-adopted classics but are well aware that a riot would ensue in the event of their exclusion. When Kane surprisingly returns to stage there are excited whispers of a Last Shadow Puppets cameo but the wishful thinking is swiftly dispelled. Cue instead the spine-tingling 505 with Kane on guitar.

Fittingly the night closes with A Certain Romance, signalled by Matt Helders’ rumbling drums. Turner chuckles when chewing his lyrics on the last verse. “Oh I don’t care” he wanes, but neither do the adoring masses who rejoicingly recite for him. “It’s been an honour Sheffield” says the departing Turner. The feeling is mutual duck.

Rating: 9 out of 10