April 20, 2014

Arctic Monkeys - Beneath the Boardwalk demos (2004)

Marco and I are both huge Arctic Monkeys fans, as you may know. It's actually one of the few bands we both enjoy equally, even though he probably still hasn't changed his mind about AM (I have, though - that album fucking rules!). Out of the two of us, it could be argued that I'm the bigger hipster, as I enjoy obscure post-black metal records and I seriously consider myself an avid drone listener. Marco is happy being an Italian thug with a preference for hip hop and indie rock, although he does listen to his fair share of weird shit, like synthwave albums about homicidal robots. And he really likes this one hardcore album for some reason, which is baffling. 

Given this background, I would be curious what he thinks about Arctic Monkeys' demo recordings, which they put out over the course of 2004 to promote their music, back when they were pimply teenagers instead of world-famous rockstars. Personally, even though I'm not one to constantly rave about how good demos are over actual albums, I love these demo songs. The simpler, rougher production of well-known tracks like Riot Van (which is drowned in reverb on this recording and has different lyrics - mostly about smoking weed), Fake Tales of San Francisco, Scummy (later re-recorded as When the Sun Goes Down), Still Take You Home or A Certain Romance lends a unique charm to these songs that I feel has been lost when proper production was bestowed upon them. 

Check out Matt Helders in the back looking scrawny as fuck. Do u even press weights m8??

The real highlights of this collection, though, are the songs which never made it to an official album. They showcase Arctic Monkeys as the sweet boys they were back then and their knack for writing catchy melodies and memorable hooks. Knock A Door Run, Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts (a song about how much it sucks when other people are smarter and better looking than you), Curtains Closed (with its tribute to The Rockafeller Skank by Fatboy Slim), Cigarette Smoker and Space Invaders (my favorite song off this collection, followed closely by Choo Choo) are loud, groovy and in your face songs that command utmost respect on the dance floor. Looking for something more mellow? Mardy Bum and No Buses are there to mend your broken heart. Drunk and feeling like hugging everyone around you? Switch over to the lighthearted Pussycat Dolls Love Machine cover, featuring Alex Turner's panty-wetting laughter, and watch your dreams come true! There's seriously not a bad song on this demo and in fact I'm willing to declare that Beneath the Boardwalk gathers together some of the best material Arctic Monkeys have to offer. It's always a pleasure to dust off these songs, as they also show just how far these guys have come. Great story!

Fellow Arctic Monkeys fans, wat u think?? Do u love rocking out to these old-timey songs? Would u smash teenage Alex Turner? Am I beautiful under these lights? Would u still take me home? Is AM their best work yet? Weigh in on the comments section below!

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