The sophomore slump. Second-year blues. The "difficult" second album. None of these phrases are in Alex Turner's vocabulary. As frontman for the Arctic Monkeys, one of Britain's most successful and im

The sophomore slump. Second-year blues. The "difficult" second album. None of these phrases are in Alex Turner's vocabulary. As frontman for the Arctic Monkeys, one of Britain's most successful and important bands of the decade, Turner is unfazed by the pitfalls of following up a zeitgeist-shaping debut.

"Was it a difficult album to record? No," Turner says from Milan, in the midst of a whirlwind promotional tour, "because ever since we finished the first album [in September 2005], we've been writing songs for this one. So it wasn't like a rush at the last minute."

In the United States, Domino has linked with Warner Bros., which will provide marketing and sales support for the album, in the same way Epic did for Franz Ferdinand's 2004 self-titled debut. "The band have made an album that's got every chance to resonate in North America on a much bigger scale," he says. "In assessing what our aspirations are and the potential of the record, it made sense to find a partner."

Domino head Laurence Bell admits the band lacks the element of surprise this time, but says he remains "so confident" the 12 new songs -- many of which display a spikier, rockier edge compared to the first album -- will stand up to any test. "This album will establish them as a classic rock band of our time. It's a huge creative leap," he says. "We don't have hang-ups or feel any pressure. They're pretty peerless at the moment."

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