Arctic Monkeys- Favourite Worst Nightmare (Domino)

The Arts — By on June 27, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Arctic Monkeys emerged in 2006 as that rarest of things in rock: hype that was more than mere hype- the genuine article. Their debut album (Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not) brought it with both barrels: high-energy songs with a rough-around-the-edges charm. But this had nothing to do with American garage rock or Little Steven. It was unapologetically English, especially in the thick accent of vocalist Alex Turner, recalling similarly ultra-British artists like Wire and The Jam. Hell, they even had a song called “Mardy Bum.” Just try to find a title like that on a Kelly Clarkson album.

Now, just a year later, the Monkeys return to the hipster jungle with their follow-up, Favourite Worst Nightmare. They get points for promptness, but a few more songs would have been nice. This is not to say that Favourite is short on tracks- there be twelve of ’em, lads. What I mean is songs: compositions with melodies or musical phrases that creep into your consciousness long after listening to the album. Things start off promisingly enough with the double bass drum thunder of “Brianstorm” and the oddly danceable “Teddy Picker” (again, the title makes the Yank in me cry “WTF?”). But as the Nightmare wears on, songs that you’ll catch yourself humming while buttering your toast become scant. The energy is there, but you find yourself strangely unable to remember, for example, which song is “The Bad Thing”… and that’s not a good thing. In the end, Favourite Worst Nightmare is (to coin another term) Chinese Food RockĀ©: good while it lasts, but you’ll be swinging by DQ for a sundae on the way home.

RATING (1-10): 6

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