Favourite Worst Nightmare is everything you hoped Arctic Monkeys would do next. Not so much a sequel as an upgrade, a breakneck technicolour journey through screwball punk and guitar-fuelled dancefloor heroics, it's very, very fast and very, very loud; a brilliant racket that proves there's infinitely more to Arctic Monkeys than writing pretty little ditties, yet at the same time boasting some of the strongest songs they've ever written.
What to do if your first record becomes the fastest-selling album in UK chart history? If you're the Arctic Monkeys, you don't sweat it you just swagger back with a follow-up, Favourite Worst Nightmare, that pulls the same old tricks with a few new twists. But even as "Balaclava" and "Do Me A Favour" bandy along with that familiar mix of provincial Everyman lingo, spat rap cadence, and scuzzy guitars, Favourite Worst Nightmare is shot through with the prevailing feeling this is the sound of consolidation, not retread. So, what's new? Well, there's evidence of a heavier edge here lead-off single "Brianstorm" veritably tears along, all galloping drums, strafing guitar lines and blistering bons mots: "Can't take my eyes off yer T-shirt and tie combination," spits Alex Turner, "Well see ya later, innovator". Like the White Stripes, though, Arctic Monkeys invest their cranked garage with splashes of melodic invention see how "If You Were There" veers between jerky riffs and Hall Of Mirrors weirdness. And it doesn't let up from beginning 'til end or at least 'til the closing "505", a departure lounge lament that's downbeat and tired, like conquering the world finally took its toll. --Louis Pattison