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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Art Brut
Bang Bang Rock & Roll
Fierce Panda

Rating: 8/10 ?


June 29, 2005
Lately, there has been a sort of miniature British Invasion, with bands ranging from Kaiser Chiefs to Bloc Party to Maxmo Park leading the way with their post-punk revival music. Adding to the fold is another British import, Art Brut, but as the line of current logic goes, they are contributing something quite disparate.

First of all, the name of the band is in reference to the Art Brut movement, meaning art created by outsiders or social deviants. Lead singer Eddie Argos' cockney voice mainly talks throughout the songs instead of belting out a real tunes on this debut album, Bang Bang Rock & Roll. With his words come charm and intelligence; the entire album is self aware, somewhat satirical, humorous and brutally honest about music itself.

The opening track, "Formed a Band" has Argos singing proudly, "Formed a band, yeah we formed a band" against dizzying punk guitars and drums as he goes on to mention not to buy albums from supermarkets and how the band arrogantly wants to write a song as universal as "Happy Birthday." These guys can't be serious, can they? Even if they are, the music is fun and creates a brash commentary on the subject itself.

The album is lyrically heavy with the words taking the foreground and the constant rock left secondary. The next track, "My Little Brother", is about the discovery of rock and roll: "He no longer listens to A sides/he made me a tape of bootlegs and B sides/and every song on that tape said the same thing/why don't our parents worry about us?" As Argos sonically chants, the song ends with the band yelling, "Stay off the crack!"; one of the band's slogans is "talking to the kids," and this song becomes a sort of public service announcement for good music.

The song "Emily Kane" deals with unrequited pining for a girl a guy met at 15 and still hasn't gotten over ten years later. While love, a fairly serious subject, is again revisited on "Good Weekend", this time tongue is squarely planted in cheek: one fellow gets himself a new girlfriend and boasts he's seen her naked twice. Even in humor, or perhaps especially, they make a point about the shallowness of current society.

As well, they also speak to the past, and how little we've journeyed since then. On the title track, the band declares how they can't stand the Velvet Underground and how songs about sex, drugs and rock and roll are boring. The penultimate song becomes slightly slower than the rest with Argos repeating, "Some of us want to go back to our families" reflecting on how there's nothing wrong with giving up - it is antithetical to what the band stated in their breakout single, "Formed a Band," and yet it adds to their depth and clear conflict. Their differing views and humor are enough to make any listener reevaluate personal beliefs, and even in fun that seems to be the point.

Finally, someone has the guts to say what's on their mind, and that's what makes Art Brut's debut so fascinating. It's an ambitious first record with terse and succinct songs. While there isn't much variation in instrumentation or sound, the impeccable, thought-provoking lyrics more than make up for it. Art Brut reminds us there were many bands in the past whose songs were not particularly varied, but their words changed the world. Hopefully there is room for Art Brut in this new rollout of British music, but if not they can happily stand on their own with one of the more original debuts this year, separating themselves and starting a fury, in true punk spirit, with their art.

Reviewed by Garin Pirnia
To date Garin Pirnia has contributed one review to the archives of LAS, a rather favorable pontification on Art Brut\'s Bang Bang Rock & Roll, which she rated an 8/10.

See other reviews by Garin Pirnia

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