It’s here – the second most eagerly awaited album of the millennium (behind their debut, of course) hits the download stores today, and the Arctic Monkeys’ Favourite Worst Nightmare has the unenviable task of following the fastest-selling debut album in British history.
On first listen, there’s nothing on here that’ll jump out as immediately as Mardy Bum or Dancefloor did on Whatever You Say I Am. Where are the hooks? The cheeky little riffs? But while you quietly berate the band for ‘losing it’, small seeds of melody are quietly planting themselves in your brain ready to blossom on the third or fourth spin.
Opener Brianstorm has to be the best single without a chorus to hit the charts in some time, while album centrepiece Do Me A Favour is a personal highlight, all tribal drums and chiming guitars. Overall it sees the band getting heavier and developing a more rounded sound.
Favourite Worst Nightmare almost seems like a logical extension of the band’s renowned difficulty and unease with their newfound global megastar status; they famously shun awards ceremonies and avoid the press. The sound of this record is merely a natural reflection of that.
It’s also a record that finds the Monkeys pushing the boundaries of their sound. Sure there’s nothing here so frighteningly obtuse that it’ll frighten off the football fan section of their audience, but it’s certainly enough to make you wonder what they’ll do next.