Local Wire

Art Brut

Much of U.K. outfit Art Brut's appeal lies in the wide-eyed incredulity of frontgeezer Eddie Argos, the need he constantly feels to state (and then immediately restate) particular observations as if to highlight how incredible or ridiculous some circumstance is. "I saw her naked -- twice!" he exclaims about a sex-hungry new squeeze on "Good Weekend"; "Why don't our parents worry about us?" he wonders in bewildered duplicate on "My Little Brother," where music fanaticism is flippantly equated with drug addiction to the tune of a taunting, tug-o-war riff. Which leads us to the actual music here: It's bare-bones, Ramones-harking songwriting that's as pop rambunctious as it is three-chord-punk snotty and just-add-water simple. Lead single/manifesto "Formed a Band" ambitiously asserts that Art Brut's aim is to pen a tune as "universal as 'Happy Birthday,'" and Bang Bang finds these guys well on their merry way. Any outfit willing and able to upend staid gallery decorum for Dadaist laughs and caterwauling, thrusting, jumperoo thrash on its first time out -- "I see a piece on Matisse/Take three steps back/Take a long run up/And I jump at it!" from "Modern Art" -- deserves at least a shot at that sort of immortality.
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Ray Cummings