Sometimes an album that makes perfect sense comes out of nowhere. My friend Fred sent me Art Brut’s 2005 debut years ago. Art Brut writes simple and quick pop songs (the longest tune is 3:45 long). These guys have put the fun back into rock and roll.
The absolute star of Art Brut is “singer” and sarcastic front man Eddie Argos. Eddie narrates his songs as much as he sings them. His greatest talent is his bombastic wit and strong sense of cynicism. “Yes, this is my real singing voice” Eddie proclaims.
Bang Bang Rock and Roll jumps to a start with a perfect single. “Formed a Band” is Art Brut expressing their shock that they are actually the ones on stage playing to the masses. “Formed a band, we formed a band, Look at us we formed a band!” If one thing lasts from the mid-1970’s punk movement, it’s that anyone can play and anyone can be on stage. Each of the three times I’ve seen Art Brut they attack this song with such youthful exuberance that you realize that this rock star stuff is still new to them. This, in my opinion, makes “Formed a Band” one of the greatest debut singles ever.
“My Little Brother” finds Argos and mates complaining how “my little brother just discovered rock and roll.” The pain of watching a family member liking bad music truly pains them. “Stop buying albums in the supermarket” should be repeated to every person whoever buys music at Wal-Mart.
“Emily Kane” was Eddie’s first love. “I was your boyfriend when we were 14, it’s the happiest that I’ve ever been.” This tune finds the band playing their basic post-punk new wave chords that are a background to Argos’ ode to a lost love that he hasn’t seen in “10 years, 9 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 5 seconds.” The tune showcases the band’s humor. Humor, unfortunately, is sorely missing in some modern music.
The joke here is not Art Brut, but the image of the stodgy self-important rock star is. Eddie Argos is not Bono, James Hetfield, or Anthony Kiedis. Can you imagine them singing about their lack of sexual performance as Argos does in “Rusted Guns of Milan”? Art Brut knows what fun is and they take the quickest route there.
One piece of advice, seek out Bang Bang Rock & Roll by Art Brut.
— Jim McCabe
- “Formed a Band” – 2:58
- “My Little Brother” – 2:23
- “Emily Kane” – 2:41
- “Rusted Guns of Milan” – 3:45
- “Modern Art” – 2:23
- “Good Weekend” – 2:49
- “Bang Bang Rock & Roll” – 2:14
- “Fight!” – 2:37
- “Moving to L.A.” – 3:29
- “Bad Weekend” – 3:03
- “Stand Down” – 2:51
- “18,000 Lira” – 1:13
- A hidden track “Subliminal Desire for Adventure” can be found in the pregap of the CD—the first track must be rewound to hear the song.
- Eddie Argos – vocals
- Ian Catskilkin – Guitar
- Chris Chinchilla – Guitar
- Freddy Feedback – Bass guitar
- Mike Breyer – drums