Sound — 8
I've always liked the Monkeys guitar sound and here it comes out even better thanks to good production. It's the same really cool, twangy, Gang of Four/Dick Dale/James Bond theme kind of sound. The band generally sounds tighter and more refined. Wheather this is due to good production, that fact thay've been playing so much live or both, I don't know. Also the drums seem to have really improved. They fit in the the guitar perfectly and the band really seems to get a singular overall sound which they kind of lacked on WPSIWIN.
Lyrics — 8
I haven't listened to it enough yet but the lyrics are still really cool and whitty. However my first impression is they are not quite up to the standard of "Whatever..." which was brillant. However maybe I'm wrong, since it took me a few listens of their first album to really catch all the puns and ironies. "Fake Tales of San Fransico" on the last album has some of the whittiest lyrics I ever heard since the Smiths in my opinion but I have yet to find anything quite as cool here.
Overall Impression — 9
Definately a step in the right direction. I was only mildly impressed at first but after a few listens I do think overall this album is much better then their first effort and they have gotten much better as a band. At the moment my favorite tracks are "Brainstorm", "Teddy Picker", "The House is a Circus" and "505". Funnily enough only a year ago I didn't really like the Arctic Monkey's. I always heard "I bet you look good on the dancefloor" and thought they were just another over hyped UK indie band. I gave thier first album a good listen and started to like it, especially the lyrics. This album only confirms, while they are still far from my favorite, that I was wrong and the Arctic Monkeys really are a very good band.