Last year you couldn't escape the wrath of the British rockers Arctic Monkeys. These kids were everywhere, selling kazillions of copies in the UK, making their catchy as hell Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, the fastest selling debut album in British history. The lads wasted no time cranking out their follow-up, Favourite Worst Nightmare, and now it is time to see if they defeated the dreaded sophomore slump.
Within the opening seconds of "Brianstorm," it is damn clear that this band has taken the sophomore slump and kicked it square in the bollocks. It kicks off with thundering drums provided by Matt Helders, followed by the vocals by frontman Alex Turner. This blazing track has a sick bass line, manic guitars and is simply fantastic. I've got a hunch that this band is going to be around for quite a long time.
The rough touches of punk have been mostly removed from the band's sound, replaced by well-crafted rock with even more melody than on Whatever. The dark lyrics are still there, such as ragging on the ridiculousness of celebrity culture on "Teddy Picker." One of the appeals of Turner is his use of everyday language to craft such interesting stories in his music, which keeps it somewhat conversational.
The subject of their material has shifted away from home now that they are quite a bit more well-traveled, but the core of what made Arctic Monkeys special is still there. For the most part, they are still that no-frills rock band that me met when those online demos appeared less than two years ago. "Fluorescent Adolescent" could very well be the hit that they've been waiting for here in the US. It has just a hint of ska that meshes perfectly with their Brit-rock sound that originally caught our ear. You just watch, as this could be the one.
Sure, critics have most likely been waiting on this album, just hoping that Favourite Worst Nightmare would prove that Arctic Monkeys were a fluke. Well, I am quite happy to say that this band has somehow gotten even better, and I've got a hunch that we'll be hearing from them for years to come. They lived up to their hype, and with this new album, they have surpassed it.