by Carey Murphy and Darcy Caputo & r & & r & The Arctic Monkeys & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fphobos.apple.com%252FWebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253Fs%253D143441%2526i%253D121522167%2526id%253D121522402%2526partnerId%253D30 & quot; & Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not & lt;/a & 2 STARS & r & The latest in the seemingly endless stream of British saviors of MySpace-endorsed rock, the Arctic Monkeys specialize in the dance-pop-punk that grows on trees these days. Lots of staccato vocal deliveries, lots of clever guitar hooks, lots of toe-tappin' and head-noddin' -- and all in an easy-to-digest, ready-to-sell, straight-to-the-top-of-the-teeny-bopper-charts format.
The first single, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor," is catchy enough, but most tunes under three minutes happen to be. And nearly all the tracks on the album fall in this category. By the time the others get irritating, most are ending. But this isn't anything we haven't heard before from the likes of Franz Ferdinand ("Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured") or the Libertines or the Test Icicles (former savior-status recipients, now defunct) or Bloc Party or the Go! Team. The stencil is wide-reaching, but there are lots of recognizable elements here.
Good? Maybe, but I can't imagine listening to this album two months from now. By then, eight new hopefuls will be vying to save my rock 'n' roll soul. -- Carey Murphy
Neko Case & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fphobos.apple.com%252FWebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253Fs%253D143441%2526i%253D127962351%2526id%253D127963667%2526partnerId%253D30 & quot; & Fox Confessor Brings the Flood & lt;/a & 4 STARS & r & It's been four years since Neko Case's masterpiece Blacklisted hit shelves and managed to convert indie rockers and working mothers to her brand of alt-country chanteuse. Exposing her influences, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Loretta Lynn, to a whole new generation, the Tacoma native lives up to the promise of the path she forged with 2004's The Tigers Have Spoken.
While not as catchy as Blacklisted or as raw as Tigers Have Spoken, the highly anticipated Fox Confessor (Anti) has an understated depth that rewards repeated listens. When Case belts out 'Hey, pretty baby, get high with me' on track two, "Star Witness," one can't help but be enamored by her bluntness. But Case is no stranger to saying what's on her mind: Her lyrics often are peppered with feminist attitudes and values.
Other highlights include the aptly titled "Maybe Sparrow," which flutters, croons, and yelps all with the ease that wings afford you. With Fox Confessor, Case soars to new heights where only eagles dare. -- Darcy Caputo