Art Brut: Wham! Bang! Pow! Let's Rock Out! review – tuneful, zippy guitar pop!


Eddie Argos’s Bournemouth- and now Berlin-based band made a splash in the mid-2000s as exuberant, wordy indie-rock contemporaries of Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. Now rocking a remodelled lineup and even more exclamation marks, Art Brut’s first album in seven years is trademark zippy, tuneful guitar pop, although there is perhaps more of a nod to new wave and power pop than there once was.

The guitars and brass don’t exactly trouble the zeitgeist, but the harmonies and choruses are singable, and surely pop is richer for such a haplessly engaging character as Argos. Something of a deadpan, Jarvis Cocker-like antihero, his stock-in-trade is wide-eyed, drily humorous songs about pined-for girlfriends and dreaming of being on Top of the Pops, littered with affectionate references to pop culture.

“I don’t want her back. There’ll be no Rumours or Blood on the Tracks,” he insists on the wonderfully giddy Hooray! Elsewhere, I Hope You’re Very Happy Together (“and if you’re not, that’s even better”) takes wounded digs at former lovers. Hospital! references Amy Winehouse’s Rehab but otherwise pithily tackles the difficult issue of reconciling a minor indie rock’n’roll star’s lifestyle and the onset of ill health and middle age: “When I get out of hospital, I’m gonna be unstoppable.” Best of all, Awkward Breakfast knowingly pastiches the aftermath of a one-night stand with Buzzcocks-like descending chords and ribald one-liners: “Last night you were being rude with me / Now we’re eating bowls of muesli.”


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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