Review Summary: English underground rockers Art Brut unveil their debut album which highly satisfies and yet leaves so much more to be heard and expected from the band."Some people like thing left unspoken/I prefer to have them out in the open!"
And such is the case in this Art Brut band thing. Normally used to describe outsider art, but in this case to describe an outsider band who are in love with themselves, fighting, Los Angeles, and seeing girlfriends naked (TWICE!). What would sound like a bunch of thugs and hooligans actually turns out to be some pretty nice guys who want to make a lot of noise and do with their debut full length LP, Bang Bang Rock & Roll
. It took awhile for this to not only get released in the states, but for it to catch on and make fans out of as many people that enjoy their music now, it certainly was a pain looking for their CD when all they had were imported copies. What made looking very hard for this album worth it amid the nu indie wave being thrown out by England these days? How bout that these guys are nothing like the sound alike artists of Editors
, Bloc Party
, or Kasabian
, actually sounding interesting not only in the fact that their music is interesting, but their quirky attitude and heavy jams make it sound like they themselves are interested in recording it. The leader and man who makes most of the noise on this album is front man Eddie Argos, who blasts his thick accent into the mic and lets the cleverly written words and rest of the band do the rest.
The beginning of the CD works to show themselves reflected in the mirror, how did they get to where they are? Well every band has to have a start and this start in the subtly titled "Formed A Band
. The opening track lays down the blueprint for which most of the rest of the album will follow, repetition of lines in each verse (in this case we deal with "Formed a band/we formed a band/look at us/we formed a band"
), vocal tangents in the middle of heavy and overlapping guitar dominated parts ("We're gonna be the band/that writes the song/that gets Israel and Palestine get along"
), and a steady beat which results from guitarists Ian Catskilkin and (at the time) Chris Chinchilla. What can be taken out of Art Brut songs are the facts that they will get stuck in your head, you will hear their seemingly amateurish band but be captivated by how far from that title they actually are.
Moving on from tunes following the Art Brut formula, is the song designated for single treatment and finding it in being one of the poppier songs on here, but also one of the best (if not the
best). "Emily Kane"
recalls a childhood girlfriend of Argos, and actually shows the band able to make songs with traditional verse/chorus settings. The song combines all the band's talent in making a song ant to be played on the radio but still containing Argos's unique way of "singing". Structure is not the only highlight here, most of it can also be taken from the bouncing around of emotions that take place both happy ("I was your boyfriend when we were 15/It's the happiest that I've ever been"
,and sad ("I don't even know where she lives/I've not seen her in 10 years, 9 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 5 seconds"
) occur on this track. "Emily Kane"
could be one of the best songs released in 2005, still proving memorable to myself even before hearing it again, letting the album and this song work on you and it will probably do the same for you.
As previously mentioned, Art Brut has a way of making seemingly unmemorable lines stick out and become memorable by being throw in front of and in the middle of verses. a song that has this ability is "Modern Art"
which doesn't recall of pretty pictures, but of short but effective buildup leading to Argos shouting "Modern art/makes me/WANT TO ROCK OUT!"
. Sure there are lines being spoken above the music in the middle of these lines that actually do
recall times in Paris in an art gallery, but they are not spent admiring pictures, instead yes they are about rocking out. Following a song about art with a song about rocking is commonplace with this group and "Bang Bang, Rock and Roll"
. With lines that get repeated such as "I can't stand the sound of the Velvet Underground"
and a middle section about the rock and roll life style being boring, it seems the group has seen what rock and roll usually is viewed as and their dislike of it. By not joining in they continue to stand out, just as their music does thanks to tracks like these.
What may chime out to the listener at this point is astonishment that the instrumentals are so loose, the singer isn't even singing, but half the lines are memorized and it's only the first listen (that could make a decent Art Brut song itself). The sound changes however on the 7th track, "Fight!"
which revolves around just that, a fight. Indeed to match the feeling of a fight, the intensity and velocity; the band would have to keep a leg up with not only the vocal delivery, but with delivering another fast paced number after so many so far. This is accomplished with vocal meandering during the verse but the chorus is where the energy is found. "Some people like things left unspoken/I don't care if you shout it just get it out in the open/C'mon c'mon let's have a fight"
turns into the core of this song and the repeating of the word fight thrown in with police sirens wailing do match that of a fight. Like many of these songs, the title did dictate the lyrics and feel of the song, which shows the band making that their craft and making it well.
It seems like they came out of nowhere and went...about nowhere; but though the mainstream has not picked up this band yet, nor may they ever, Art Brut seems content on making interesting music although it is not what people are used to at all. The devastatingly catchy vocal hooks and one liners will stay in your head, either singing about Emily Kane on a school bus or considering a move to LA.
Formed a Band
Recommended video to watch on YouTube if you're too lazy to download the previously mentioned songs:
Emily Kane (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfZF6kfVA2k)