Monkeying Around

In the space of a few months in 2005, the four 19-year-olds in Arctic Monkeys rose from being an unsigned outfit with a dedicated fan base to a U.K. singles chart-topper receiving widespread critical

In the space of a few months in 2005, the four 19-year-olds in Arctic Monkeys rose from being an unsigned outfit with a dedicated fan base to a U.K. singles chart-topper receiving widespread critical praise and attention from the mainstream press.

The group's Domino debut, "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not," set a record for the fastest-selling first album in U.K. chart history in late January when it moved 360,000 copies in its first week. The set arrives this week in North America. Two of its singles, "I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "When the Sun Goes Down," have already hit No. 1 in the U.K.

What is all the fuss about? According to EMI Music Publishing U.K. senior VP/director of A&R Mike Smith, who signed the band to a worldwide publishing deal, the appeal stems from frontman Alex Turner.

"There's a dreadful paucity of good lyricists in music today, and he is by far and away the most impressive I've seen," he says. "He hits the nail on the head in terms of where British culture is right now in a way no one else does."