Top positive review
Sequel every bit as good as the debut
on 17 February 2008
That whole “difficult second album” thing? Not a problem to Arctic Monkeys. In fact, it could be claimed that their second was better than their first and, in places, it probably is. There's an admirable confidence and swagger to Favourite Worst Nightmare that suggests following their million-selling debut was a piece of cake. Brianstorm introduces the album with a whirl of aggressive rage, all thundering drums, spitting vitriolic vocals and sharp riffs, making the most glorious noise they'd produced to date; if it doesn't get your adrenaline racing and heart beating faster, then you may as well switch the album off there and then. Teddy Picker, with its spiky riff, is pure catchiness from start to finish and Fluorescent Adolescent, perhaps the biggest earworm Arctic Monkeys have ever written, is nothing short of a genius serving of indie-pop with a superb opening line and excellent lyrics throughout. There are plenty of other very good songs on the album, but this trio of beauties take some beating. Out of the rest of the tracks, the powerful, riff-heavy If You Were There, Beware and Yellow Bricks come closest to equalling the quality of the singles for me.
Arctic Monkeys' second album is heavier, richer in sound and shows a rapid, yet natural, development and progression from their exceptional debut. The whole band are almost ridiculously talented and give assured, exciting performances, but drummer Matt Helders, especially, demonstrates a confidence and skill that drives Favourite Worst Nightmare along in a way not quite captured on their first. To release such a fantastic follow-up to a massively successful album just a year on is a remarkable achievement and, if I'm honest, it is too difficult to say which one I prefer. Although this album has, arguably, much better singles, their first one was altogether more interesting and cohesive as a whole. Their debut was innovative, full of character and a breath of fresh air, with the tunes and musical nous to carry it all off, but this album builds on their sound and adds musical depth whilst retaining the vital characteristics of the band.