April 30, 2009

Test Spin: Art Brut

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On “Demons Out” the non-title-yet-should-have-been-the-title-track of Art Brut’s third LP, Art Brut vs. Satan, Eddie Argos sings, “How am I supposed to sleep at night when no one likes the music we write?”
Eddie, it’s time to rest up because this album is going to be very well liked. Art Brut’s usual catchy hooks, shouting lead and background vocals and clever lyrics all make their mark on this album, and they are better aligned than ever before. One might attribute it to the fact that Black Francis (a.k.a. Frank Black of The Pixies) produced the album, but it’s undeniable that Argos’ lyricism is so well developed that the words often outshine the music.
From “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake,” when Argos shouts, “I’m in love with a girl in my comic shop / she’s a girl who likes comics; she probably gets a lot,” to the lyrics in “What a Rush,” when Argos claims, “You like The Beatles and I like The Stones / but those are just records our parents owned,” the messages in Art Brut’s songs are all universally relatable. But the music is not completely irrelevant — the heavy beats keep the songs moving so Argos’ stories can keep unfolding.
Although their shouting rock style hasn’t made them megastars, Art Brut has built a nice following since their formation in 2005. When Eddie Argos says, “Why isn’t everyone trying to sound like U2? / It’s not a very cool thing to do. / Why would you want to sound like U2? / Just press record and play it straight through,” he perfectly pinpoints the distinctive anti-pop Art Brut model that you’ll absolutely take pleasure in on Art Brut vs. Satan.