Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Though widely available as an import and through legal download services for some time, Art Brut's debut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll, has been kept off American shelves by the vagaries of the record industry until recently. That's a strange fate for a band so dependent on immediacy. The legend goes that Art Brut assembled, then wrote the song "Formed A Band" ("Look at us, we formed a band!") to mark the occasion, and on almost every track, singer Eddie Argos seems just to be going off on whatever first crosses his mind.

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But sometimes immediacy has a pretty good shelf life, and now is as good a time as any to catch up with Art Brut, particularly since there's more to Bang Bang than the band's just-tossing-it-off attitude suggests. Argos' lyrics are funny, but they aren't jokes. There's a skill to playing music that's simultaneously this propulsive and openhearted, real poignancy to "Emily Kane," a lament for a teen-years girlfriend, and a genuine wish for escape beneath "Moving To L.A." (in which Argos fantasizes about "drinking Hennessy with Morrissey"). It's been a while since they first formed a band, but they still command attention.

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