Having seen their debuts define their time, Oasis, The Stone Roses and The Strokes didn’t only have the pressure of coming up with second albums, they also had to pick the dreaded Comeback Smash. It’s a terrifying concept for a mega-hyped band to tackle – Christ knows, it took the Roses five years to summon the guts for ‘Love Spreads’. So, bless Arctic Monkeys for releasing ‘Brianstorm’ so quickly. Either they’re so certain of their own brilliance they’re happy to bung out new stuff fresh from a hot mixing desk, or so careless that they’re happy to stick steadfastly to their ‘release and be damned’ ethos. We’ve had new material already, but ‘Leave Before The Lights Come On’ and ‘Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?’ felt like a band in motion. ‘Brianstorm’, to paraphrase The Mighty Boosh, is the new sound. Inspired by a dodgy character Alex Turner encountered in Tokyo last year, the song takes its lead from the city’s neon confusion, exploding into a dizzying sonic strike. Whether the band have discovered Pavement, or they just have some rage to get off their chest, this is a bolder, louder and fuzzier Arctic Monkeys. With thunderous drumming, and notably Nick O’Malley’s first significant bass contribution to the band, ‘Brianstorm’ grows from brooding foundations, while relentless guitars and Alex’s snappy vocals prove to be compelling as ever. A rampant return – as
if we ever doubted them.