May 23, 2007

Another Barrel O' Monkeys: Favourite Worst Nightmare review.

Whoever says the carefully crafted album is dead wears the doomsayer sign too early. The new Arctic Monkeys CD plays like a concert - the opening is strong and quick to get into the action (which is good as it is also their lead-off single, "Brianstorm"). The songs transition into each other smoothly but still have enough of a distinct flavor for you to know where you are. There is the chunk of softer fare that begins with the smooth jazz club feel at the end of "Balaclava," snakes through "Fluorescent Adolescent" (one of the two best songs on the CD), into the softest point "Only Ones Who Know," and starts to pick up in "Do Me A Favour". The penultimate song ("Old Yellow Bricks" - my personal favorite) feels like it could be a barnburner when done right, and "505" is a comfortable end.

The music is exactly what Arctic Monkeys started on "Whatever People Say...," only with some fine tuning, a little harder here, a little softer there. Whereas "Whatever" was mid-fast-tempo almost the entire way through, this album is slightly more polarized. The sound can be described as having the pop sensibility of early Beatles, the stomp of the Ramones, and the sardonic bite and wit of modern British lyrics. You'll find yourself bobbing along to even the least catchy of songs. And in plenty of places the music is deceptively complex; this isn't just your three-chord fare though it may sound as much at first listen.

I'd say if you're looking to bounce, or you liked "Whatever People Say...," this is something to pick up. You won't be blown away by most of it, but you'll certainly be bouncing about.

Final Score: 85.

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