The Arctic Monkeys are masters of songwriting that expresses the pent-up restlessness of youth. That was clear on their 2006 debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. This time out, the British rockers open with the same kind of blow-your-top energy. On the lead track, "Brainstorm," frenetic drumbeats stampede their way across angular guitar chords. The urgency is reminiscent of the earliest works of the Police.
Favourite Worst Nightmare finds the Arctic Monkeys exploring a broader emotional terrain. "Fluorescent Adolescent" is a pop song about aging, nostalgia and dreams of the future. "Only Ones Who Knew" is a reverb lullaby invoking memory and regret. By the end, frontman Alex Turner is singing a love song, "505."
Sounding supremely confident on an excellent follow-up, the Arctic Monkeys have discovered there's more to life than sneering.