London-based quintet Art Brut, led by singer-songwriter Eddie Argos,
revisited vintage garage-rock of the 1960s and punk-rock of the 1970s on
Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Fierce Panda, 2005),
relying on primal guitar riffs and eclectic vocals.
The band was clever enough to pen songs such as
Formed A Band (the driving litany that made them famous in 2004),
Modern Art (a relentless series of screams over agonizing guitar),
Fight (furious like the Sex Pistols),
that sounded fresh and new when they were in fact based on very familiar
Sometimes the rhythm and the vocals appropriated anticlimatic stances
(My Little Brother, a tragic form of music-hall;
Moving to L.A., a comic form of Merseybeat;
Good Weekend, a nasty sarcastic form of bubblegum),
a fact that may lend them more than five minutes of fame.
The Fall had found their heirs.
Their sarcastic, populist songs are odes to stupidity, but, in the warped universe of Brit-pop,
sometimes stupidity sounds like genius.
It's A Bit Complicated (Banana, 2007) contained mostly inferior
material that aped their own debut, with rare moments of verve
The sarcasm of
Art Brut vs. Satan (Downtown, 2009)
is lost in eclectic ambition
(up to the seven-minute Mysterious Bruises) and a myriad references
to the history of rock music.
The skills of guitarists Jasper Future and Ian Catskilkin have certainly
increased, and vocalist Eddie Argos tries really hard to be relevant,
but in the end the winner is the most traditional song,
Brilliant! Tragic! (Cooking Vinyl, 2011) has
Lost Weekend and little else.
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