Release Date: May 24, 2011
Record label: Cooking Vinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
Art Brut's Eddie Argos: A close observer of pop culture minutiae, with a voice like an auctioneer's. He doesn't sing his lyrics so much as announce them, hollering about hack comedians, comic books, and, of course, rock and roll. On Art Brut's fourth – and sturdiest – album to date, he delivers his wry recaps between sudden thrusts of guitar and rigid, right-angle percussion.
“Play what you know!” Eddie Argos shouts during “Clever Clever Jazz,” the song that not only opens Brilliant! Tragic!, but sets up its meta context as well. Art Brut may still be extremely self-aware, but the band spends plenty of time trying new things on this album, and they picked a crucial time to do it. Despite the very real charms of It’s a Bit Complicated and Art Brut vs.
It’s time we stop comparing Art Brut to Art Brut, and time we acknowledge the brief love affair that was Bang Bang Rock and Roll, It’s a Bit Complicated‘s sameness, Art Brut Vs. Satan‘s same sameness and accept the band for what they are: ironic sort-of-punkers-but-mostly-jokesters who like to pun Axl Rose and play Pixies-infused squelch-rock—which is exactly what they do on their new album, Brilliant! Tragic! Of course, saying Art Brut have recorded the same album four times over in a span of eight years would be to sell the band short by three albums. It’s important to remember how good Art Brut is at making rock ‘n’ roll that’s both heartfelt and hilarious: “Emily Kane”, “Passenger”, “Summer Job”, “People in Love”, “St.
If the opinions of those who posted in this thread on this site's message boards in 2004 are anything to go by, it was pretty surprising that Art Brut ever managed to actually make a full album in the first place. Now that they are embarking on their fourth full-lengther, I can’t even begin to imagine the depths of amazement currently being experienced by those who doubted the band's longevity. Not that I was any different, mind you.
Stream Art Brut’s Brilliant! Tragic! in its entirety here Eddie Argos has no illusions that he’s Barry White or Marvin Gaye—or even your average American Idol winner—but that only makes “Sexy,” from Art Brut’s fourth album Brilliant! Tragic! all the more unlikely. “I want to be played in the background, while couples drink their wine,” Argos sings—yes, sings. “That would be a triumph with a voice like mine.
Once, in a rather brilliant interview, Eddie Argos was questioned as to why he spoke on his records instead of sung and, confused, he replied that he thought he’d been singing all along. Therein lies the charm of [a]Art Brut[/a]: their eccentricities are genius because they don’t even realise what it is that they’re doing. On [b]‘Brilliant! Tragic!’[/b] all the usual themes crop up – loving Axl Rose, feeling sexy, the Republic of Sealand – but there’s something strangely self-conscious about it all, like the way that Argos is trying to drum up, Big Brother-style, ever-stranger ideas, but without quite believing in them.
t doesn’t take any music critic long to figure out that half of what musicians say about their albums can be safely disregarded, along with 90 percent of what makes it on to their press releases. Lady Gaga drummed up excitement for Born This Way by calling it the “album of the decade,” folks in Britney Spears’s camp talked up Femme Fatale‘s “experimental” sound, and, lest you think that the tendency to mismanage expectations is unique to A-listers, Art Brut’s manic Eddie Argos told interviewers that he had learned to sing for Brilliant! Tragic! Truthfully, his deadpan verses and howled choruses are about as tuneful as they’ve ever been, but before you cry false advertisement, you should bear in mind that Argos’s vocal coach was the Pixies’ Black Francis—not exactly a classicist himself. Besides, no one’s ever come to an Art Brut album looking for chops.
While the natural evolutionary process of any songwriter is to age and mature with time, the same cannot be said of artists who deftly capture the tormented acts and preoccupations of adolescent behavior. Eddie Argos is the type who began fantasizing about what it is to be mature; his frivolous discoveries about manhood were gloriously recreated in episodes that always lead to awkward sexual experiences, delusions of grandeur, and juvenile expectations about hitting the big time. Every unfortunate circumstance should’ve forced him to adapt and learn to act appropriately.
Art Brut‘s Eddie Argos never fails to impress with his goofy immaturity. In each of his projects, Argos spends the time gleefully shouting out whatever comes to his seemingly perpetually adolescent mind, whether it’s comic books, nudity, or modern art, always with a big, clever grin and always without coming off as insincere. He has inhabited that same role, that same persona so perfectly that it seems like he’s on auto-pilot.
All right, whose brilliant (i.e., tragic) idea was it for Eddie Argos to start singing? Was it producer Frank Black? Argos himself? Jasper "the Dolphin" Future? Did anybody actually think the problem with Art Brut was all the talking? I rather thought that was like the whole point. Granted, you either love the talking-singing thing or you hate it (see also: the Hold Steady), but at least it was their thing. And beyond being totally, instantly recognizable, it wasn't all that bad of a look for Art Brut, either: Argos' witty, conversational lyrics were always well served by his spoken delivery, offset by the band's playfully slick rock session band chops.
Brilliant! Tragic! , the new album by Art Brut, comes across like the musical equivalent of the “fascinator” — you know, those annoying little hats worn by all the British wanna-bes at last month’s Royal Wedding. Look at me! Look at me! it shouts, I need love too! And it manages, for a moment, to do the trick. It certainly grabs your attention, but only negatively, and then mistakes horror and ridicule for something more positive.