While this sophomore release is unmistakably Arctic Monkeys, everything's a little more muscular and aggressive. Each song is embedded with revelatory moments, as if some sort of critical mass is achieved through skillful song craft and sharp arrangements until an explosive release of energy or emotion is inevitable. Arctic Monkeys have exceeded expectations with this record.
Snarly and stone-sharpened, the Arctic Monkeys open their sophomore effort with "Brianstorm," a bracing blast of guitar fractures and rhythmic herky-jerks. Alex Turner's voice is the centerpiece, scoured the way the Streets' Mike Skinner's quick. Favourite Worst Nightmare
moves from frontal blast quickly to the lean, mid-paced pop nugget, "Teddy Picker," which even with its clear guitars and straight rhythms still has Turner's tart intonation piercing the air. The tugging bass and guitar of "Fluorescent Adolescent" show shades of the retro-soul tip that drives Amy Winehouse (and Lily Allen), showing that the Arctic Monkeys have a taste for the dancefloor that spans generations, even if their guitars can cut across each other with relentless jaggedness while Turner's caustic pipes lasso the ears. Nightmare
expands the band's reach, as when "Do Me a Favour" goes wonderfully haywire from tumbling rhythm, clear-guitar, and fluid narrative to a cresting blast of guitars--big and brawny and borne from the merely tumultuous, like the band itself. --Andrew Bartlett