Arctic Monkeys are a guitar rock band from Sheffield, England. The group, which is comprised of frontman and lyricist Alex Turner, guitarist Jamie Cook, drummer Matt Helders and bassist Nick O’Malley, are one of the most successful British bands of the 21st century: their debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ is the fastest-selling debut in British chart history and they have released five consecutive Number One albums. They have released two albums, ‘Whatever…’ and their most recent LP ‘AM’, which have received 10/10 reviews from NME. Other accolades and achievements include winning seven Brit Awards and headlining Glastonbury Festival on two occasions.
Turner and Cook both received guitars as Christmas presents in 2001 and began learning their instruments together. They later began playing shows in Sheffield after recruiting Helders and Nicholson to their line-up. Arctic Monkeys became one of the first bands to come to the public’s attention via the internet when a collection of their demos titled ‘Beneath The Boardwalk’ was circulated on MySpace and other websites. As a result, the band had built a sizeable fanbase even before they eventually signed a record deal with Domino.
‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ sold 363,735 copies in its first week and won the Mercury Music Prize in 2006; later, NME voted it as the fifth Greatest British Album Of All Time. While touring the US, however, Nicholson dropped out due to fatigue from the band’s hectic schedule and Nick O’Malley was brought in as a temporary replacement. Nicholson later confirmed that he was leaving the band permanently, and O’Malley replaced him as a full-time member.
The band released their second album, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, just one year later in 2007 and claimed their second Number One UK Album. Although Turner took a brief hiatus to work on his side-project The Last Shadow Puppets with Miles Kane, Arctic Monkeys released their third album ‘Humbug’ in 2009. Despite its success, the album’s harder, more US-rock influenced sound polarised some fans; unlike their previous records, the LP was recorded in Joshua Tree in California and was co-produced by Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.
Since then, Arctic Monkeys’ fourth album, 2011’s ‘Suck It And See’, also entered the UK Albums Chart at Number One while their fifth album, ‘AM’, was voted NME’s Album Of The Year in 2013. The album’s success led to the band winning the Best British Band and Best British Album awards at the 2014 Brit Awards; at the ceremony, Turner’s acceptance speech – in which he vowed rock’n’roll would “never die” – gained national news coverage. NME described ‘AM’ as “absolutely and unarguably the greatest record of their career”.
In May 2018, Arctic Monkeys returned with ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, a sci-fi themed slowburner of an album written by Alex Turner on the piano. While the record divided both fans and critics, NME‘s Thomas Smith wrote: “‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ will reward deep-diving listeners – in particular those with an interest in picking apart Turner’s densest and most self-aware lyrics to date… this record feels a lot like gazing into the night sky… when the constellations show through, you’ll realise that it’s a product of searingly intelligent design.”