It’s incomparably rare that a debut long player could sell as many copies as ‘Whatever People Say I Am…’, and still not face half the backlash of a Kaiser Chiefs or Bloc Party. Indeed, even comparing Arctic Monkeys to their contemporary peers seems a futile exercise. ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, even moreso than it’s predecessor, is a work of council estate magic; a sharp point that hits the spot in a climate of blunt instruments, there’s an edge to tracks like ‘D Is For Dangerous’ that any number of copycats can’t replicate.
Indeed, while it’s true that Alex Turner may have slightly (and we do mean slightly - Ed) turned down the wordplay, there’s still enough here to have Sheffield Godfather Jarvis smiling to himself. The trade off - the emergence of a heavier, crunchier Monkeys - more than pays off.
So yes, it is possible to get away with a track called ‘Brianstorm’ when the sheer punch of those drums is enough to make Dave Grohl soil himself at twenty paces. As a single it’s a brave move, but mooted follow up ‘Flourescent Adolescent’, a scummy summer swooner that threatens to redefine grower, may be even bolder. Start mentioning the blissed out ‘Only Ones Who Know’ and the range of the Arctic Monkeys’ sonic arsenal starts to become even more frightening than anyone dare imagine.
It’s the slow starting ‘505’ that really brings home the bacon, however. Crooning its way through a gradually building two-and-a-half minutes before exploding into life, every button is hit in spectacular style. As album closers go, it’s a triumph.
It’s true to say that, at first glance, ‘Whatever People Say I Am..’ might seem the stronger album, but with so many familiar demo mountain anthems, it’s got an obvious advantage. ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ really is something extraordinary: an album with more than a hope of standing the test of time. More a complete work than a collection of amazing scum-pop singles, it’s time to start believing the hype. It’s just possible that Arctic Monkeys are that good.
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