On their '05 debut, these exuberant English people got big mileage out of a simple approach: lean and crude riff rock overlaid with Eddie Argos' half-spoken spiels about topics such as his little brother discovering rock & roll ("There's a noise in his head and he's out of control") and his own yearning to move to L.A. and drink Hennessy with Morrissey. No big changes for album two. It would be nice if Argos offered more details that really stuck, but it's fun to hear him pick through the ashtray of his brain and offer himself as the punch line – as on "Jealous Guy," where he tries to "accidentally" wake his sleeping girl in order to get laid. Argos' mates shuffle between noisy midtempos like "St. Pauli" and rave-ups like "Direct Hit," and whenever Argos' lyrics get fuzzy, there are enough well-modulated garage guitars or heartfelt choruses to keep you tuned in. It all adds up to something lovably unpretentious – and pretty unique.
(Posted: Jun 13, 2007)
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Review 1 of 2
There's something of Jarvis Cocker's Pulp in Art Brut's stark portrayal of drunken urban decay in 21st century Europe. Unfortunately, there's no grabber. Direct Hit will be the most memorable track when all is said and done, but there's no Arctic Monkeys-ish "That was me!" lingering effect to wake up to the morning after. And Eddie Argos' constant monotone 'git' vernacular is nowhere near as charming as the witty effusions of The Streets' Mike Skinner and after a while becomes 50-Cent-ian in its ram-it-down-your-throat 'incessance.'
Aug 11, 2007 20:06:02
Review 2 of 2
Art Brut's stand-up comedy approach to punk rock is extrapolated fully on their latest, It's a Bit Complicated. Eddie Argos straddles the almost sung with the more so spoken right down the middle of his band's surprisingly catchy modern rock sound. Unfortunately, while he says a lot of interesting things, Argos rarely himself sounds interested, and an otherwise enjoyable album suffers from its own disconnected series of characters, each one hardly straying from his or her stratus of benign complacency. Whether this is purposeful or not is irrelevant. It is an obstacle, and a large one at that.
Gimmicky and boring, Argos' vocal styling is an unfortunate distraction to Art Brut's otherwise well crafted, easy to digest sound. More spoken word than actual singing, it's impossible not to get hung up on. Clearly the showcase of the band, Argos punctuates his way through girls and... that's about it. Nearly every song here is about a girl or some unfortunate incident revolving around a girl. Ironic or not, the effect is polarizing. Most annoying is that the album never takes a turn. It's a Bit Complicated has one direction, and stubbornly maintains its head-on collision course with sophomoric, looming irrelevance for the duration of the record.
On "St. Pauli," Argos repeats the phrase "Punk rock is nicht tot," nicht tot being German for "not dead". Of course it isn't. Punk is undeniably alive, yet nowhere on this record. The audacity to boast one's inclusion in that scene is an origami of ironies. In the end, It's a Bit Complicated ultimately disappoints as something that is, in actuality, a bit boring, a bit simple, and a bit too easy to wave off.
Jul 2, 2007 12:24:00
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