Review Summary: Passable & interesting, the planned 3rd single from the successful debut LP is combined with 3 B-Side quality tracks & an impressive closer that was best left for the follow-up. This EP is not essential for anyone but fans of the band.
It may just be a British trait, but it could be a little unwise for a young up and coming band to release so many tracks to the public so early in their career. As Oasis did before them, it seems that the Arctic Monkeys just can't get enough of providing music to their fans. Maybe they are unselfish. Maybe they are impatient. Maybe they are opportunists. Who knows" What I do know however is that the overnight sensations from Sheffield - England released a fair bit of music in a short time span.
The Arctic Monkeys had just scored two massive hits in the United Kingdom with the first 2 singles from their critically and commercially successful debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'. When it came time to release 3rd single 'The View From The Afternoon', it seems that the band couldn't help themselves and ended up releasing this EP, actually making it ineligible to chart as a single.
'The View From The Afternoon', which served as the opener for the LP, plays the same terrific role here. Immediately hooky right from its opening drum-work, the first minute showcases all of the impressive instrument playing of the band as well as the effective vocals. Structurally, the song is better for holding its chorus back and while the mid-track halt is a little gimmicky, it thankfully does not result in a padded out overlong feel.
Up next is 'Cigarette Smoker Fiona' which is a reworking of an earlier song titled 'Cigarette Smoke'. Pretty much a 3 minute distorted guitar-driven track, there are elements of old-school punk apparent here. But while it is not at all bad, this isn't anything special and it can be seen how it was most likely considered to be too run-of-the-mill to make the album proper.
The interesting unplugged-like slower piece 'Despair in the Departure Lounge' follows as the focus is very much placed on the lyrics. Predictably (from its title) telling the story of missing your loved ones while on the road for work, this is borderline fascinating but unfortunately rather unmemorable and comes off as no more than decent variety. The same could be said for track 4 'No Buses', which contains a nice little melody and builds up fairly well, but simply does not demand repeated listens.
The EP closes with the almost 6 minute title track which sees a welcome return to the form that made the band's debut album such a standout. Right from the outset, we see this talented quartet showing how well they combine drums, guitar and especially impressive bass playing with Alex Turner's solid vocals. Furthermore, the lyrical content which concentrates on the band's sudden success is beyond their years. One could even suggest that it is a little premature for such a young band to be at this phase writing-wise already. Unselfishness" Impatience" Opportunism" Who knows"
So should the Arctic Monkeys have released this 5 track EP...""" The answer is (arguably and controversially) "no". While providing additional tracks for their fans was rather unselfish in a way, the sensational debut album stood on its own well enough and it would not be long until a 2nd full-length would be released. Even though they are decent and interesting, all 3 of the middle tracks are simply B-sides and nothing more, while I actually feel that the impressive closer would have best been touched up and improved for inclusion on the 2nd album. Passable and interesting, this EP is not essential for anyone but the biggest fans of the Arctic Monkeys.
Recommended Tracks: The View From The Afternoon & Who the F**k Are Arctic Monkeys"