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Art Brut I Bang Bang Rock and Roll (Fierce Panda)

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Pretentious to end all pretensions, frontman Eddie Argos simply states what two dimensional feelings he knows, lines delivered in a quick dose of kick-in-the-ass awesome.

 

Art Brut: Bang Bang Rock and Roll (Fierce Panda)

RIYL Ramones, Electric Six

This album could be the Napolean Dynamite of records, with great one-liners in every song that become more absurd and hilarious every time you repeat them. Pretentious to end all pretensions, frontman Eddie Argos simply states what two dimensional feelings he knows, lines delivered in a quick dose of kick-in-the-ass awesome.

Their intentions are clearly defined in the first track, “Formed a Band,” which demands that people stop buying records in the supermarket (a lofty aim this reviewer supports) and declares such aspirations as “we’re going to be the band that writes the song/that makes Israel and Palestine get along.” Sweet Moses/Allah brilliant! (Nothing else seems to be working anyway.)

There’s no high-quality instrumental or vocal performance, but talent does not a great album make. In fact, Argos’ admittedly tuneless singing voice isn’t irony or rock ’n’ roll; as he unapologetically relates, “we’re just talking to the kids.” It’s the elementary lyrics that really cut through the thicket of rock ’n’ roll bullshit. Yet there’s no attempt by the band to hide their own insecurities and insanities behind their lyrics.

Case in point: the juvenile romance throughout the Bang Bang Rock and Roll. “Emily Kane” is an ode to Argos’ first girlfriend when he was 15, with such obsessive confessions as, “Every girl that I’ve seen since/looks just like you when I squint.” How hard I would fall for whateverhisnamewas again if he said such sweet nothings. Or the boastful cries of a recently laid lad: “Got myself a brand new girlfriend/I’ve seen her naked, TWICE!/I’ve seen her naked TWICE!” You can’t help but smirk at this innocence—and, on some level, relate.

There’s something genius about pulling off a record full of songs about sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll that begs, “No more songs about sex and drugs and rock and roll/it’s boring!” Thus is Art Brut’s Bang Bang Rock and Roll. | Katie Bordner


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