Mercury Prize shortlist nominees (number: 2007)
en: Favourite Worst Nightmare [info]
Less than fifteen months after releasing a debut record which rewrote most music history books, Arctic Monkeys return to prove a point to those who still remain unconvinced by the retiring and nonchalant Sheffield quartet.
With the world waiting for the most almighty of musical slip-ups, the Arctics have found themselves under a burning microscope in the build up to the release of Favourite Worst Nightmare. Could this be the moment where Alex Turner falls flat on his face and admits that maybe, just maybe, he should have spent more time appeasing an interview-thirsty media frenzy? Not bloody likely – this is an absolute treasure.
''Brianstorm'', a volcanic signal of intent, ''Teddy Picker'' and ''D Is For Dangerous'' give the album a rocketing lift-off. Ascending guitars do battle as the band's much promised darker and heavier side comes to the fore. With a succession of jaw-dropping riffs, you are engulfed by a fever that was last induced by ''The View From The Afternoon'' and ''Ritz To Rubble''.
Favourite Worst Nightmare illustrates a great degree of maturity in many ways. Turner's mastery of lyrics hits home more than before and is sure to connect with an older audience who felt excluded by Whatever People Say I Am... And wherever Turner, fit to burst with aggression and sexual frustration, has raised the bar, drummer Matt Helders has sailed over it with a virtuoso performance.
In a practically chorus-less 40 minutes, it's difficult to find an ineffective track in a many-faced record. The slowest of songs, ''Only Ones Who Knew'', could be curtailed by a minute but still makes for a great transition towards a slick finale. From ''Do Me A Favour'' – the ultimate break-up track– to the cheeky-cheating ''Do The Bad Thing'', the denouement is special. Final track ''505'' is the perfect bookend to sit opposite the brash ''Brianstorm'' with a tenderness sure to surprise.
Expect green-eyes from all corners (from The Strokes through to Klaxons) as the Monkeys continue their pursuit of perfection. Rather scarily, *Favourite Worst Nightmare *has surpassed previous heights scaled by the band and will have many a rival tossing and turning in their sleep for years to come.