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Art Brut :: It's a Bit Complicated

Downtown

Reviewed on Thursday, June 28, 2007 by Michael Mannheimer

Some bands go for the big time from the beginning. Art Brut is not one of those bands. More famous for being really fucking funny than for their instrumental chops, Art Brut’s debut album Bang Bang Rock and Roll seemed more like a collection of ridicously good singles rather than one of the top records of 2005. With their sophomore album looming, it would be easy to peg the band as pure hype—that’s exactly where they want to be.

Art Brut is a band that is all about the little things, nuisances that turn ordinary songs into short pop gems. Lead singer Eddie Argos’ songs aren’t really about a big hook or lightning guitar riff; instead it’s the minute details that define his own art—like the breakdown before the bridge 2:20 seconds into standout “Direct Hit,” where Argos tells us “here comes the good bit” right before the song re-launches into its foot taping chorus, or the “ooh oooh oooh” backing vocals that parallel his every move.

Any notions of the dreaded sophomore slump disappear seconds into their new album It’s a Bit Complicated. “Pump Up the Volume” is catchier than just about anything the band has done before, a tale of a boy who just wants to “break from your kiss to turn up a pop song.” Argos receives most of the attention for his clever and deadpan lyrics, and much of it is due—he writes about relationships and girls better than just about anyone—but It’s a Bit Complicated works because it feels like the work of a group, not just one witty lyricist.

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