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Arctic Monkeys 

Favourite Worst Nightmare (Warner Brothers/Domino)

Ah, it seems like yesterday that these English lads were the toast of the town, the leaders of the hype pack — oh, wait. It pretty much was just yesterday. Over the past year, we've learned that the Arctic Monkeys are brats: arrogant onstage, snotty in interviews and whiny on record. Of course this behavior is masked by the band's punchy, Brit-poppy punk — fast and heavy, yet with simplistic guitar arrangements that give them an air of edginess. Maybe it was too rushed, because Favourite lacks those initial hooks we saw last year — or maybe said hooks just became stale. Aside from the slightly jarring single "Brianstorm," which echoes the Monkeys' former slightly jarring single, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor," most of the cuts here sound derivative of one another. With their first offering, the Monkeys mixed things up with a bit of funk and ska, recalling the Clash (or, more recently, the Libertines). Those drawn to that vibe will find it in "Fluorescent Adolescent," but overall this is mostly a mediocre collection of I-might-have-been-burned breakup songs that would be awesome if one were sixteen and reeling from that first bout of heartache. Or, in the words of the Arctic Monkeys themselves, "I think you should know, you're his favourite worst nightmare."

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