Eddie Argos and his trusty cohorts aka Art Brut released their third album, Art Brut vs Satan, today (Monday 20th April) and will promote it by embarking on a dozen date UK tour before a few dates in Europe and then off to the States in June.
The good news is that it’s business as usual; Buzzcockian power pop, played with verve and assurance, accompanied by Eddie’s wry and witty self-referential spoken-word lyrics. If you haven’t liked the first two albums, there is nothing here to persuade you that you have cloth ears. They have not developed or changed tack or experimented and why should they? The Beatles made five beat albums before branching out with Rubber Soul.
The disc gets under way with the fab new single Alcoholics Unanimous (previously reviewed here). I am pleased to say that Eddie has continued his penchant for writing new songs with sounds-familiar titles ~ Pump up the Volume, I Will Survive, Jealous Guy, not to mention Nag Nag Nag Nag on 2007s It’s a Bit Complicated are followed here by The Passenger and Twist and Shout.
Every song is a mini-chronicle of Eddie’s life. Seven of the eleven begin with the words I, I’m or I’ve; reminiscence of girls, chocolate milkshakes, DC comics (he blogs on the subject), the importance of music and morning-after introversion/panic. He is a person I find particular empathy with. His lyrics take me back to somewhere I don’t go to very often ~ the wasteland of late teens with the world before you but you have no way of knowing how to approach it. Good things can be found, but some people just don’t have the wherewithal to find them. Sometimes Eddie’s a winner, sometimes not ~ it all, however, gets chronicled. “My past is my business” he once sang. Maybe, but we’re gonna get to hear all about it.
My standout track is Slap Dash for no Cash ~ “those are the records I like…I love the sound of background noise, I want to hear the crack in the singer’s voice, fingers moving on the fretboard…I hear his parents yelling “turn it down”‘. Amen, brother Argos.
Art Brut vs Satan is produced by the Pixies’ Frank Black. Whether anyone else could have done a better job I couldn’t say. The role of the producer is an overrated one. The best at the job put the true sound of the band onto disc. On that basis he’s done a pretty good job. Live Art Brut are one of the most exciting and entertaining bands I have ever seen. If they’re coming to your town, you’d be a fool to pass up the opportunity. Eddie Argos is a wonderful frontman, bearing good comparison with Jarvis, but they are a band, a very good one, not merely a maverick showcase.
The sentiments expressed in their stunning breakthrough single Formed a Band, part bombast, part incredulity, remain intact. Look at them, they formed a band; yes, this is still his singing voice and no, this is not irony.
Art Brut TOP OF THE POPS.