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Art Brut

Wham! Bang! Pow! Let's Rock Out! (Alcopop)

By • Dec 13th, 2018 • Category: Album review

Art Brut have always made much of hyperbole. Their first album was entitled ‘Bang! Bang! Rock ‘n Roll!’ and almost fourteen years on they’ve lost none of their fondness for exclamation marks, or for what has become their trademark band sound, a frantic, brassy powerpop fronted by vocalist Eddie Argos’s determined attempts to elicit enthusiasm from their audience of jaded hipsters.

Based in Berlin for much of the last decade, distance and cultural factors have made little difference to Art Brut’s songwriting except that some of the ‘Wham!Bang!Pow!’ song titles are in German, such as ‘Schwarzfahrer’ and ‘Kultfigur’.

The lyrics remain in English, however, and to all intents and purposes, this is exactly the same band that brought us songs like ‘Good Weekend’ and ‘18,000 Lira’ on their debut album.

So, sounding like they’ve never actually left Bournemouth and as lively as ever (with the addition of a horn section) the world of Art Brut remains an essentially happy place, a world of slightly drunken weekend evenings, cool girlfriends, and references to Top Of The Pops that todays hip kids won’t completely recognise.

Then the penny drops. Art Brut were formed by mistake in the first place, after Eddie Argos missed his true vocation as a Butlins redcoat and took to hanging out in indie clubs instead, probably after some girl wouldn’t talk to him or something.

It needs saying that, after making comparison with their first and their new album, that each contain songs which could be swapped from one album to the other without anyone really noticing.

“The past is a different country” sings Argos on ‘I Hope You’re Very Happy Together’, but Art Brut remain solidly in 1995, with Blur and Oasis duelling it out on the six o clock news and Peel still the one DJ that everyone listens to.

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