Artist – Album: Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll
Released: 30th May 2005
Sounds Like: Look at us! We formed a band!
In 2003, Art Brut formed a band. Then they wrote the greatest song ever about such a process and titled it ‘Formed a Band’.
Complete with jagged guitars and Eddie Argos’ tongue-in-cheek vocals and instantly memorable lines (“Honey pie, I don't know when it started, just stop buying your albums from the supermarkets. They only sell things that have charted, And Art Brut? Well we've only just started”), the song swiftly wooed indie critics and on-the-ball music fans. Thankfully, Argos wasn’t kidding when he said they’d only just started – the album that followed offered exactly more of the same ironic brilliance.
‘My Little Brother’ and ‘Modern Art’ are infectious rock tracks in the same vein as their first single, all snappy guitars and witty one-liners. The title track is borderline too clever, with Argos claiming that he “can’t stand the sound of the Velvet Underground”, against a backdrop of Cale-ish screeching violins and backing vocals chirping “white light/ white heat”. On songs like ’Rusted Guns of Milan’ they show they don’t just deal in giddy joyous matters as they tackle the issue of impotence – the little-engine-that-could-esque chant of “I know I can” at the coda is disarmingly laboured.
The two real highlights though, aside from ‘Formed a Band’, are ‘Emily Kane’ and ‘Good Weekend’. The latter is a contagious and quirky pop song about, well, as Eddie Argos declares it: “got myself a brand new girlfriend.” He’s “seen her naked TWICE!” The former is a surprisingly delightful love song, written years before, dedicated to an old high school flame. In true Art Brut style, he doesn’t just miss his sweetheart though, he can actually count, to the second, the last time he saw her (“10 years... 9 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 5 seconds”). It’s a fantastically smart take on young love that most of us can relate to, with pleasing honest lyrics such as “I was your boyfriend when we were 15, It's the happiest that I've ever been, Even though we didn't understand, How to do much more than just hold hands”.
All the cerebral wordplay and frivolous guitarwork can become slightly draining, and it’s not an album to keep on repeat. But as debuts that don’t take themselves to seriously go, this is one of the very best.
Albumaday... rating: 8/10
1. Formed a Band – 2:58
2. My Little Brother – 2:23
3. Emily Kane – 2:41
4. Rusted Guns of Milan – 3:45
5. Modern Art – 2:23
6. Good Weekend – 2:49
7. Bang Bang Rock & Roll – 2:14
8. Fight! – 2:37
9. Moving to L.A. – 3:29
10. Bad Weekend – 3:03
11. Stand Down – 2:51
12. 18,000 Lira – 1:13
Listen to ‘Good Weekend’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY4dQHsPdiI
Also released on the 30th May:
2006: The Radio Dept. – Pet Grief