Saturday, May 05, 2007

CD Review No 3 - Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare

Barely eighteen months after their startling debut album, we have the Sheffield combo’s second serving. At this rate, the Arctic Monkeys might have disbanded due to irreconcilable difficulties and gone off to develop solo careers before any of them reach 21. Favorite Worst Nightmare, displays all the signs of a growing musical maturity, with increased sophistication and instrumental dexterity.

With their first album they seemed to be the latest streetwise inheritors of the punky tunefulness of The Buzzcocks, infused with the poetic heart of The Smiths at their best. Alex Turners versatility as a lyricist, avoids the maudlin sentimentality of Morrisey, yet maintains a grudging sympathy for his subjects/victims plight. He Manages to pull off impressive verbal word play and insightful social comment, whilst mixing it with the earthy sardonic humour of a northern stand-up comedian. The poet John Cooper Clarke comes to mind quite frequently. The subjects on their debut release was quite closely observed, drawing, to some extent, on their own upbringing in a northern town that lost its industry, and its way, a few decades ago. Constant touring since then has considerable tightened them up as a band. Musically this album shows expanding musical horizons and adeptness. Lyrically Turner has had to broaden his social sphere for his observations, to include comment on celebrity culture, for instance, in Teddy Picker.

I’ve had the album for only a few days, and whilst the first albums originality and authenticity hit you right between the eyes so you could hardly ignore it, this album slowly impresses itself upon you.

The instant hits being Florescent Adolescent, Do me a Favour, Old Yellow Bricks, and 505. Here their trademark use of abrupt changes in vocal style and time signature work seamlessly together. There are a few tracks that fall short such as Balaclava, and most notable - If you were there, Beware - where its hard to tell what they’re trying to say lyrically or musically, time signatures shift from quiet introspection to teetering dangerously on the edge of heavy metal bombast. But then, their first album was not without tracks that missed their target either. Either way, I’m already becoming fond of these musical sweeties, and look forward to their next bag of allsorts.

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