Release Date: May 9, 2006
Record label: Downtown / Fierce Panda
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
"Formed a Band" was such a brilliant first single, and summed up Art Brut's aesthetic so perfectly, that there almost seemed to be no need for more songs from them. Driven by a jagged, ragged guitar riff, it sounded like it was thrown together in ten minutes tops, and had lots of great, quotable lyrics ("I wanna be the boy -- the man -- who writes the song/That makes Israel and Palestine get along"), which were held together and topped off by Alfred Molina look-alike Eddie Argos' speak-singing -- which he informed his listeners wasn't irony, and wasn't rock & roll. Actually, it's both, and there's a lot more of both on Bang Bang Rock & Roll, an album whose title kills and celebrates rock & roll at the same time.
Review Summary: It's a bit like Bang Bang Rock & Roll, except harder, better, faster, stronger.Quite how Art Brut scored themselves the Pitchfork #3 album of the year back in 2005 with Bang Bang Rock & Roll, I'll never quite know. Sure, it was a fun, funny album that hit the post-punk zeitgeist head-on without feeling like part of the scene, but Art Brut were a one-trick pony. That was crucial to know - on that album, every Art Brut song was essentially the same, with only "Bad Weekend" offering up a moment where the band overshadowed the singer.
Despite an appearance in NME's 2004 "cool list" and gigs at Tate Britain, these name-to-drop Londoners vehemently proclaim their uncoolness. But there's uncool (as in Pulp), and there's uncool - and Art Brut are the second kind; zany cabaret turns who recall chart footnotes David Devant and Electric Six. But then with a frontman like Eddie Argos - for whom irrepressibility is a chronic condition - they hardly have a choice.