Arctic Monkeys

Album: Favourite Worst Nightmare

Label: Domino/Outside

Release date: April 24

****1/2 (out of five)


The british quartet hammers you with all manner of sharp, high-speed pop tunes on this followup to Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I'm Not.

As before, the Sheffielders don’t back off of the dystopian commentary either. This time the comfortable are afflicted by Alex Turner’s mardy musings. Prostitutes in Neepsend are replaced by carefully crafted representatives of modern entertainment archetypes: Untalented reality TV stars, unscrupulous record industry PR flunkies and uninspired Brit-pop style, “cause we can’t take our eyes of the t-shirt and tie combination/Well see you later, innovator” (Brainstorm).

The disc also has its anthem, Fluorescent Adolescent. What starts off as doo wop tones turns into a bitter (and clever) story of sexual frustration, chorusing, “oh the boy’s a slag, the best you ever had.”

So much for the sophomore curse: Favourite Worst Nightmare should put the cat among the pigeons on both sides of the pond.

Nine Inch Nails

Album: Year Zero

Label: Interscope

Release date: April 17

***1/2 (out of five)

The year is 2022 and the almighty U.S. of A is in a state of chaos and dire straits — at least that’s what Trent Reznor would have you believe.

The industrial rock icon and Nine Inch Nails front man treads new territory by releasing a 16-track concept album, thematically titled Year Zero.

Five tracks into Zero and listeners will find themselves bopping to catchy hooks and industrial synth-like sounds, something you’d expect from a NIN album, only twice as reinvigorating. Filled with a contagious energy, songs hint at an eventual apocalypse as lyrics laced with melancholy and not-so-overt jabs at the government would suggest; “She gave us all she had, but we went and took some more. Can’t seem to shut her legs, our mother nature is a whore.”

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