arctic monkeys were already massive way before they inked a deal with domino in june 2005. people obsessing over the songs? sold-out gigs full of stage-diving nutcases? hardcore fans pressed up against venue windows, just hoping to catch a glimpse? such checkpoints have all been ticked. the boys may share a love of the smiths, the clash and the jam, but in no way were the monkeys ready to simply regurgitate the well-trodden brit-rock path. rather, they spent their school days listening to roots manuva, braintax and other stuff on low-life, not to mention lyricist lounge compilations and rawkus records cuts like pharaoh monch. another unique influence was mancunian poet john cooper clarke, who alex is a huge recent fan of. hence the razor-sharp lyricism that fuels songs like a certain romance, a witty observation of small-town life where theres only music so that theres new ringtones and where going out could sometimes mean having a pool cue wrapped around your head. elsewhere, there were grim tales of girls whod ended up on the streets (she dont do major credit cards, i doubt she does receipts sun goes down) and glorious swipes at the rocknroll clones that arose on the back of the great garage rock boom of 2002 (yeah i'd like to tell you all my problems/you're not from new york city, you're from rotherham fake tales of san francisco). this was life in satellite-town england, as cutting and observant as anything youd hear from mike skinner. containing thirteen newly recorded tracks, some of which have never been heard before anywhere, even amongst the diehard fans trading demos and versions on the internet, this is a remarkable modern british debut.