Art Brut thinks they suck. What do YOU think? - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
March 22, 2006
Art Brut is misunderstood. You see, Art Brut is not a person. Art Brut is not a creative stick of deodorant. And Art Brut is not another name for the "outsider art" movement that gave us Basquiat. Ok, actually that one is true, but we aren't here to discuss such heady topics today. Nope, for our superficial purposes, Art Brut is just a few dudes in a rock & roll band. How do we know? Because they won't shut-up about it! The band's debut album, Bang Bang Rock & Roll features a self-aware singer, Eddie Argos, who talks a lot about forming bands, discovering rock & roll and Morrissey. He rants with (heavily accented) bravado and plenty of humor. If these guys were serious, your eyes may not just roll, but explode at their pomposity. But Art Brut, though reluctant to admit it, are just kidding around, and for that, they end up being pretty awesome.

Bombastic Art Brut sound exactly like a band making fun of bands that rip off "art" bands like Wire and The Fall, right down to the spiky guitars and disconnected bass lines. But just because they joke, doesn't mean they should be dismissed as a joke band. These guys can rock in their own right; a good thing considering most of us don't go to shows to see stand-up comedy (remember Fred Armisen's Les Savy fiasco?). But Art Brut not only downplay their talent, but they also try to convince us that they are flat-out bad musicians. The band has claimed in several interviews that they can't sing a note nor play their instruments. They also claim they don't intend their songs to be funny. Ummm, ok Art Brut. At worst these claims are lies, and at best, we can chalk them up to ironic self-deprecation. Art Brut know exactly what they're doing. Songs this catchy don't come from nowhere.

Bands have been ripping each other off since the beginning of time, but lately, it seems that these borrowings are coming with comical frequency (they can't even come up with good names anymore... I mean, Arctic Monkeys?). It's refreshing to come across a band that just straight out tells you, "We're Art Brut, and while we may not be Wire, we do have English accents and we will do our best to tune our guitars in the unmistakable Wire style." And sure, relying so heavily on irony may come across as a cop-out, safe-guarding Art Brut against any type of backlash because they were just making fun of other bands... but they really do have talent. And I'm hopeful that on their next album, they'll forget they're in a band, at least for a few tracks. I'd sacrifice chuckles for content any day. These guys are too intriguing to remain so steadfastly silly.

Art Brut play 3 shows! Tuesday, April 4th, and Wednesday, April 5th at Bowery, and Wednesday, April 12th at Southpaw.


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