There are two things that commonly happen with sophomore records that follow successful debut records:
1. The band has toured so much and played the same songs so many times that they are sick of themselves, figure the rest of the world must also be sick of them, and they go on to make a follow-up record that is usually brilliant, but nothing like the previous effort, so they lose 75% of their finicky fan base. See: Faith No More's Angel Dust and Pond's The Practice of Joy Before Death.
2. The band had two albums worth of songs to begin with, they only released half of 'em the first time around, they've been touring and haven't had time to write much new material, so the second album, while often good, inadvertently serves as a continuation of the previous effort. See: The Strokes' Room On Fire and The Cars' Candy-O.
Here, we find the Monkeys picking door #2 and making it work to their advantage. This record was released a little over a year after their debut, and by not making anyone wait too long, the expectations weren't above average for this one. Considering that, this album is almost as good at their first one, it's only drawback lying in the fact it can't replicate that initial excitement Turner's voice elicited (in me, at least).
The production is tighter on this one, but the songs don't lose their urgency. The average running time of the tracks shows a slight increase, and it's actually a welcome change. And, if nothing else, "Brianstorm" is just a damn fine song title.
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