Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Downtown Records)

The first time I listened to Art Brut’s debut album, I absolutely hated it. It seemed like an insincere joke on the audience made by a bunch of no-talents. Then I kept listening to it over and over again. The more I listened, the more Art Brut charmed my pants off with their energetic rock, influenced by post-punk and Brit-pop, without owing much to either genre. Not bad for a band that formed just 18 months before releasing this album, and who had the good foresight to write a song about the event – debut single “Formed A Band” – reportedly slapped together five minutes after they formed.

Art Brut’s biggest weapon is lead singer Eddie Argos, who, truth be told, is more of a “speaker” than a singer – a fact he cleverly turns into lyrical fodder on “Formed A Band” when he says “And yes, this is my singing voice”. Argos may have an acquired taste of a voice like The Fall’s Mark E. Smith or Billy Childish, but he’s a fantastic lyricist; conjuring up interesting tales of teenage love (“Emily Kane”), male impotence (“Rusted Guns Of Milan”), school yard fights (“These Animal Menswe@r”) and of course the obligatory song about running headfirst at a Matisse painting at the Pompidou (“Modern Art”). It should keep you interested for a long time to come.


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