Sheffield band Little Man Tate are frequently compared to their fellow Brit tyros the Arctic Monkeys. As well as sharing a hometown, they have built an ardent fanbase via the same route of MySpace and internet ubiquity: even the clunky title of this debut album recalls the Monkeys'opening statement of intent, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.
Little Man Tate's title actually refers to the timeless advice given to aspiring novelists and songwriters to “write about what you know” and Little Man Tate certainly do that. Showing a maturity and wisdom beyond their tender years, they play fervent songs of growing pains, unrequited love and provincial dreamers living for the weekend with laudable vim and brio.
Like Arctic Monkeys, theirs is a world of crushes, snatched snogs and barbed rejections from heartless local paramours. The clenched Northern vowels and observational detail of “This Must Be Love” suggest a knowing, ultra-sassy Beatles for the 21st century: elsewhere, their tales of failed romance in dead-end towns could be a wittier update on '80s Brit indie icons the Wedding Present.
They're not all about the heart and the groin though. "Little Big Man" and "Court Report" (the story of a pathologically violent transvestite) could be edgier character studies from Blur's Parklife period, while "House Party at Boothy's" joyfully evokes the carnal carnage of a mass teenage cider binge. Equally fine is "Man I Hate Your Band," a rousing, self-explanatory assault on local poseurs with designs on music's big time.
Little Man Tate may or may not equal the phenomenal sales record-smashing success of Arctic Monkeys, but musically they are every bit their equal. If you're seeking the authentic sound of clued-up, cynical, hedonistic young Britain, here is the real deal.