ARCTIC MONKEYS: FAVOURITE WORST NIGHTMARE (2007)
1) Brianstorm; 2) Teddy Picker; 3) D Is For Dangerous; 4) Balaclava; 5) Fluorescent Adolescent; 6) Only Ones Who Know; 7) Do Me A Favour; 8) This House Is A Circus; 9) If You Were There, Beware; 10) The Bad Thing; 11) Old Yellow Bricks; 12) 505.
This review will not be lengthy, because I have pretty much said it all before. On their sophomore effort, the boys continue doing the same old thing — constructing brainy patterns of multi-riff sequences, setting them to sharp, but convoluted lyrics, and recording them in a Brit-pop-punk style with Jam/Blur as the backbone and randomized influences, ranging from the Smiths to Duran Duran, as the muscle. Please support them financially if you like this description.
Well, perhaps there is one difference: instead of writing lyrics about deadend clublife, Alex Turner is now writing lyrics just about everything, from flight experiences to character assassinations to things that cannot be decoded at all. Unfortunately, there is very little about this new, convention-free writing style that catches the eye, except for an occasional Duran Duran quote ('I don't want your prayers, save it for the morning after') or smarmy references to the Wizard of Oz.
Also, even though they are very intent on putting together new sets of chords rather than recycling the old ones, second time around they come up with an even lesser number of interesting sets than before — these riffs are just too smart and «mathematical» to rock out to, yet too simplistic to admire from a constructionist's point of view. Besides, they, too, have their limits; I started out seriously liking the main theme of 'Teddy Picker' — before realizing that it is merely a minor twist on the main theme of 'Fake Tales Of San Francisco'. So, intuition tells me that there is probably a lot more lazy rewriting going on here than I suspect — if only I could remember what the «original» melodies on Whatever sounded like.
The two other singles were 'Brianstorm' (sic, about some guy named Brian — not Jones, just some random guy named Brian), which does sound like a storm but completely passes by me every time I put it on; and 'Fluorescent Adolescent', a very nice, but not jaw-dropping, piece of hyper-British hypersarcasm ('you used to get it in your fishnets, now you only get it in your night dress') that sounds like it could have been a stolen outtake from Blur's Parklife.
The other songs — no idea if they really deserve any special mention (e. g., many people rave about how clever it was to take an Ennio Morricone organ sample and use it as the start to '505'. DUH?) A very typical «sophomore slump», if you ask me, but perhaps you just shouldn't ask. Thumbs down, say the brain and the heart in a quintessentially Russian situation of «tandemocracy».