In one of the more predictable moves in music news, this week NME named Arctic Monkeys’ “AM” 2013’s best album of the year. The British publication has always clung to its love for this quartet of fellow Brits, even when the band failed to live up to the “next Beatles” hype that it received upon its breakout in 2005. Now that Arctic Monkeys have finally made an album that lives up to its first, it’s a resilient comeback. But it seems as though this may be NME’s way of overcompensating. Is it time to look at other options?
While Arctic Monkeys has connected with audiences across the pond in a way that has certainly met the hype, that same success hasn’t necessarily translated with American listeners. Perhaps our country’s listeners don’t equally value the guitar sound, or maybe it’s that there are other bands doing what Arctic Monkeys do in a more interesting and refreshing way. Regardless of whether you dig Arctic Monkeys or never really clicked with the band, here are five more likeminded options to discover.
Check out previous editions of “Hearing Aid,” our column taking bands you may like and offering other options:
– Vampire Weekend
– Arcade Fire
– Mumford & Sons
– Kings of Leon
The Vaccines are relative newcomers, but has skipped right over the scratchy, cut-throat dancepunk of early Arctic Monkeys and moved right to more polished, tempered rock akin to “AM.” The thing that gives The Vaccines the edge up is that the tunes from the band’s latest, “Melody Calling EP,” allows for some catchy, hook-heavy charm, whereas Arctic Monkeys deliver a just-above-average energy plateau that starts sounding the same after a while.
Brooklyn’s Skaters, featuring former locals and members of both The Dead Trees and The Paddingtons, provide the perfect bridge between garage resilience and new wave savvy. While Arctic Monkeys have relied on riffs and the cookie cutter British invasion sounds, Skaters achieves a more transcontinental sound, drawing from influences that range from the grungy songwriting of Pavement to modern Brooklyn hip-hop sounds.
London newcomers Palma Violets seems like a band that would’ve inspired Arctic Monkeys had the band formed first. In some ways, the band incorporates a more primitive twang that reflects recordings of yesteryear, but gives it a post-punk sound that can kick up in some Arctic Monkeys tunes, as well. Palma Violets can turn energy up and down like a dimmer switch, making for an interesting dynamic. The group simmers on tracks like “Best of Friends
” but also uncorks jams like “Rattlesnake Highway
.” It’s a quality that Arctic Monkeys has from album to album, but not track to track.
Worcester quartet (no, not Wisstah — Worcester, England) Peace has quickly found a sound akin to most recent Arctic Monkeys, even with just one album to its name. There’s a hollowed-out, spacious angle to the band’s gritty sound, which Arctic Monkeys seemed to discover over time. While at times Peace’s sound can seem a bit all over the place, it finds a good balance between modern reverb-y guitar-pop, and mid-’00s dance-rock in the ilk of The Cribs, The Klaxons, The Walkmen, or Bloc Party (all bands that could appear on this list, too).
Brooklyn buzz poppers Little Racer takes the riff-heavy early constructions of early Arctic Monkeys and lightens them up a bit, delivering British-influenced chord progressions and bubbly dance numbers. While the guitar sound remains prevalent, Arctic Monkeys go for a grainier punky sound, whereas Little Racer shoots for mellowed out lead melodies akin to bands like Ducktails or War on Drugs.