Saturday, April 21, 2007

Favourite Worst Nightmare - Arctic Monkeys

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Well they haven't hung about have they? A mere 15 months after the commercial juggernaut that was their debut album the Arctic Monkeys are back. But are they back with a bang?

Well in my opinion they are.

The temptation is always there with a follow up to a hugely successful debut to make it more of the same and keep the pennies rolling in, a route which can meet with short-term success but negate any chances of creating a lasting legacy. The Monkeys needn't worry about this burning them out. Yes it's not a million miles away from the sound of the debut but it does mark a flexing of their collective muscles and show that there is more to them than caustic tales of the Sheffield underground.

Brainstorm was an incendiary lead single, even if it did try to lose any sense of tune and even if it was lyrically very similar to "Fake Tales Of San Fransisco" (swap the kids on the dancefloor for the unwelcome backstage guest) and it starts the album off with a bang. It's followed by a trio of tracks (Teddy Picker , D Is For Dangerous, Balaclava) which also mimic the debut but things soon get a whole lot more interesting.

Fluorescent Adolescent and Only Ones Who Know prove once and for all that the Monkeys are no one-trick ponies. The former is Alex Turner at his lyrical best, whilst the latter evokes a 50's pop vibe but it also genuinely heartfelt and emotive. They attempt a little bit of funk on This House Is A Circus and The Bad Thing sounds like, to me anyway, the Smiths and may be the best set of lyrics on the album. Even better though may be the fantastic Do Me A Favour, currently my pick for the album's standout track.

I suppose the real question will be is it better than the debut? In my eyes, yes. That was some absolutely classic singles surrounded by some pretty average ones. This is much more consistent and should both please those avid fans who want more of the same and those of us who are looking for progression. After this no-one will be calling them a flash in the pan. They just need to get around to supplying Girls Aloud with the track they've promised them now!

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