Release Date: Nov 23, 2018
Record label: Alcopop!
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Seven years since their last record, Art Brut release their fifth album. What have they been doing in the meantime? Well, two longstanding members, Mikey Breyer and Jasper Future, have left the band, and have been replaced by Toby Macfarlaine and Charlie Layton on guitar and drums. Meanwhile, frontman Eddie Argos moved to Berlin, had a child, spent some time painting and writing, and had a bout of peritonitis which apparently almost killed him.
Coming in hot with their first album in seven years, the symbolic party that opens proceedings does little to infer any notion of heartbreak, but "Hooray!" finds Argos celebrating the end of a relationship with a euphoric bombardment of horns and band alike. "Close your eyes, and hold on tight" he beckons, with the wild ride of 'Wham! Bang!' ahead, he may be referring to the other half of a relationship, but it just smoothly gears you up for the Art Brut cacophony to come. "I Hope You're Very Happy Together" brings in a bit snarl, while still bouncing along with the party, but most importantly is that this is not a single facet break-up album.
On Art Brut's 2005 debut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll, Eddie Argos made gaming the system look so easy there was almost no sport to it. These were the early years of the indie rock bubble, an era when NME was still anointing new kings every week. Argos took advantage: He formed a band, immediately wrote a song about forming the band, and became the critical favorite he never doubted they were destined to be almost overnight.
Art Brut's Bang Bang Rock & Roll (2005) is lightning in a bottle. Mingling with the mid-Noughties British indie rock scene while simultaneously mining it for punchlines, it was fidgety, feverishly energetic, and chock full of astute observations on everything from erectile dysfunction to Turkish currency. It was nostalgic, charming, and self-effacing, too.
In the early 2000's guitar music took itself way too seriously. Everything was very earnest and bogged down with self-importance. Then a band appeared that remembered how fun music could be and shook things up and bit. That band was Art Brut, but after a few years recording and touring things got a bit complicated.
E ddie Argos's Bournemouth- and now Berlin-based band made a splash in the mid-2000s as exuberant, wordy indie-rock contemporaries of Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. Now rocking a remodelled lineup and even more exclamation marks, Art Brut's first album in seven years is trademark zippy, tuneful guitar pop, although there is perhaps more of a nod to new wave and power pop than there once was. The guitars and brass don't exactly trouble the zeitgeist, but the harmonies and choruses are singable, and surely pop is richer for such a haplessly engaging character as Argos.