The 2006 debut from these punky, huge-at-home English boys rocked and popped with straightforward brilliance while doubling as a primer on working-class Sheffield nightlife. A bit heavier and not as immediate, Favourite Worst Nightmare is a slightly lesser record, though by no means a Difficult Second Album. The basic stuff is the same as the debut's: momentum, alternately fluid and hard-riffing guitars, and Alex Turner's lithe singalong tunes. Bangers like "Brianstorm" and "505" sound at once ass-kicking and matter-of-fact, and among more tender cuts, the easy winner is the lovely "Fluorescent Adolescent," a snapshot of a wild girl tamed: "You used to get it in your fishnets/Now you only get it in your nightdress." Though unromantic takes on various club-going lads and lasses and their friends are back again, Turner's lyrics are shorter this time around on details that stick, and some cuts are less than memorable. But most of Nightmare sounds confident, unlabored and just plain good — English cool without English bullshit. The Arctic Monkeys are the new Arctic Monkeys.
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