The most striking difference between the Monkeys' debut and Favourite Worst Nightmare is that this album has a much crunchier sound to it.
Sometimes it's a little harsh, as it is on Do Me a Favour, which has a conclusion that sounds like a daft version of a Killers song, written by people who think louder + faster = better. But then just two songs later there is If You Were There, Beware, which has similarly spectacular ending, but it's a bit more fuzzy and gnarly (the best example on the album of the more edgier sound) rather than just noisy. Undoubtedly, Alex Turner's vocals and the lead, rhythm, and bass guitars all have a great fuzz to them and is what I enjoyed most about the album. The production makes Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not sound like a summer-themed pop album.
The unfortunate thing is that these great sounding instruments rarely get to stand on their own, as lead, rhythm, and bass guitar pretty much all play the same riff on most of the songs (the light fifth track, Fluorescent Adolescent, probably being the first significant exception). Consequently, a lot of the songs sound like their lurching what have to be recognized as relatively simple riffs.
With this drawback in mind, it's worth saying that certain smart decisions alleviate it somewhat. A lot of the songs have groovy codas, Teddy Picker has a fantastic guitar solo (with a guitar sound that is borderline early Radiohead), and a couple of slow songs in the middle let the energy build up naturally again for the second half.
At times, the codas can feel a bit irritating. Songs like Old Yellow Bricks and Balaclava get a bit more interesting/complex right at the end, just to abruptly end. It seems like many of the tracks were still in development and sort of rushed over the finish line. If they were just developed a bit more, to the level of 505, with its sombre synths, a chorus with crunchy guitar on the left and glistening, distorted guitar on the right, then the whole work would be a lot stronger.
Either way, I thought it was a pretty strong album and the harsher sound made up for the numerous lurchy, somewhat forgettable tracks. And none of this is to mention the drumming, which is just as fantastically high-hat focussed and plays even better with the bass than on the previous album.