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17
4.2 out of 5 stars
Bang Bang Rock and Roll
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
There's just something so endearing about a band who announces on their first song: "Formed a band/we formed a band/look at us! We formed a band!" with a mixture of glee and winking confidence.

And it's just the warmup for this enthusiastic, energetic rock band, with their solid, peppy Britpop debut, "Bang Bang Rock & Roll." Their rollicking guitars are so infused with fun and over-the-top rock'n'roll sentiments that it's impossible not to be charmed.

A sizzling riff opens the first song, in which Eddie Argos announces that they've formed a band, and urges people to"Stop buying your albums from the supermarket/they only sell records that have charted." Then he adds with winking charm: "And yes, this is my singing voice. It's not irony, it's not rock & roll -- we're just talking.... to the KIDS!"

Turns out it's only the warmup -- next Art Brut focuses on the jangly, tight rhythms of how "My little brother just discovered rock & roll/There's a noise in his head, and he's out of control!"

From there, they trip off into a joyous round of tight Britpop odes to Emily Kane, bouncy little indiepop, and frolicking rock numbers that twist in on themselves during the catchy chorus. But they also try out some other sounds: the sunny Beach-Boysy pop of "Move to L.A.," and the weirdly ominous ballad "Rusted Guns."

At first, Art Brut sound like any other fun Britpop band. But their album blossoms the more you listen to it -- these lads have a tight grip on their brilliant instrumentation, and they know how to wink at us through their odd, somewhat repetitive lyrics.

The riffs in this album are simply stunning: they ring, buzz, bounce, and sizzle, tightly wound into solid tunes. They're paired with solid basslines and some smashing drums, along with some twisted keyboard and what sounds like stomping feet. Together, they form some deliciously dancy rock tunes, but they're complex enough to never get dull

At first, their lyrics sound kind of simplistic, and in a few songs they are. But listen carefully. They're a lot wittier than that: they take a few humorous jabs at L.A., the music industry, and derivative bands. And they know how to create beautifully over-the-top odes to a first love ("Every girl that I've seen since/looks just like you when I squint"), and the joy of rock'n'roll. Even a song about.... um, performance problems.

In fact, in some songs, they exude the delight of some teenage boys who are getting to have fun out on the town... with girls! In one song, Argos yells out joyously about a new girlfriend, "I've seen her naked.... twice!" Very cute.

Argos himself has a nice voice -- it's pleasantly ordinary, neither too smooth or too rough, and he can sing through quieter songs as well as the rollicking dancier ones. And occasionally he drops out of singing altogether, usually to deliver the best lines: "No more songs about sex and drugs and rock and roll / It's BOOOOORING!"

Art Brut's debut album is a fun, rollicking, laddish album of solid rock'n'roll tunes, delightful lyrics and solid singing. Definite;y a must-buy.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2005
Art Brut could have been a gimmick. I worried this was the case after I first heard 'Formed A Band' last year. It was one of the best singles of 2004, and will probably go down in history as one of the best 1st tracks on an album, ever. It summed up Art Brut's mission statement: "We're gonna be the band that writes the song that makes Israel and Palestine get along" and quickly brushed aside any criticisms of frontman Eddie Argos' singing abilities: "yes, this is my singing voice, it's not irony, it's not Rock & Roll, we're just talking, to the Kids." It was a tiny little work of genius, and I loved it. But what if that was it? Yes, it's very clever how Eddie just shouts the lyrics, but is that all you've got? Thankfully, no, that is not all they've got. Firstly, yes, it is true that Mr. Argos is a man that cannot sing a note. But this is neither self-conscious, nor is it an "Others" style gimmick. His almost spoken word delivery is ideal for lyrics as witty, sarcastic and intelligent as these. He deals with a huge range of subjects, from the joys of young love (Emily Kane, Good Weekend) and the arts (Modern Art) to failures both general, (Stand Down) and sexual(Rusted Guns Of Milan). But this is not the Eddie Argos show, mind. His voice is set to some of the most insanely catchy little indie pop tunes you could ask for. With Eddie's happy vocals, and this jolly, bouncy music, you could be forgiven for taking Art Brut lightly. But you'll find yourself with a wicked grin on your face as you listen to them plough their way through track after track of poppy joy, all the while boldly, brutally gunning for the very institution that has embraced them- pop culture. This is perhaps most obvious on tracks like 'Bad Weekend', 'My Little Brother' and 'Bang Bang, Rock and Roll', but it runs through the veins of the entire album. Simply put, Art Brut have done something very rare- they have created good music, without compromising their ideas. Also, "I'm drinking Hennessy with Morrisey" is one of the best lyrics ever. Buy this album, and get Art Brut on Top of the Pops.
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on 4 October 2007
Youthful energy is a wonderful thing when it is captured on record. Think back to the Sex Pistols with 'Never Mind The Bollocks' and the early Jam music for example. It isn't just sheer coincidence that the majority of bands have a average age under 30. It just seems to work better, things are a bit more exciting, there is optimism, defiance, angst and a cocky swagger that sells records.

All of these attributes can be tagged to Art Brut. Art Brut are a young band who seem to be on the crest of the 'Art Wave'. A term the media has loosely branded these with, along with the likes of Franz Ferdinand. Don't be fooled though, this isn't a Franz Ferdinand wannabe band. Clever and silly lyrics over a simplistic punk rhythm and beat. This album has bundled up all the energy and jammed it into relatively short, punky, spiky album full of wit and charm.

Intelligent, arty rock like this isn't the most accessible - it certainly isn't the radio friendly pop rock that my wife would happily listen to, but if you have even the smallest urge to step away from mainstream then I think you will not be disappointed.

Tracks like 'Formed a Band' epitomises the lyrical wit. They are trying to convey how a band feels when they first start out with their debt single. "We're going to write; the song; that makes; Israel and Palestine get along" and "we're going to be on top of the pops for 8 weeks in a row." made me smile and appreciate where they were coming from.

My little brother shows a more melodic side, where as 'Formed a Band' is almost spoken, this is sung - kind of - Eddie Argos tries to explain "It is my singing voice, it is not irony". It again had lyrics that one can relate to. Tackling the subject of a teenager finding music and going through changes, making strange grungy dance moves, bootleg tops and generally trying to become uber cool.

I really liked the album from the first listen
, I became endeared to it with the subject matter and the simple, yet catchy, music. I think you will either like it or you won't. Take a leap from the mainstream security of perfectioan and surprise yourself with how warm the bubbling Art Wave is.

*** Like :- Ikara Colt and the Young Knives ***
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2006
The mighty Art Brut stand head and shoulders above the excellent crop of emerging British bands despite popular music being in it's healthiest state for two and a half decades. Their debut album, Bang Bang Rock and Roll sounds as though it has been recorded by the secret love-child of Pulp and Half-Man Half-Biscuit. The opening track, 'Formed a Band' perfectly parodies the exclusivity and pompous self-importatnce of today's stadium rock bands. Poking fun with lines like 'We're going to be the band that makes Israel and Palastine get along.' Every track on the album is strong but 'Emily Kane' and 'Brand New Girlfriend are two more highlghts in a very strong set. The band sound like they enjoyed every second of writing, rehearsing and recording this album and it is rare to find an act that can so skillfully merge humour, melody and power with such effortless aplomb. One of my three favourite albums of 2005. Enjoy!
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In my opinion this is the greatest debut album of recent times maybe even the best since ABC's Lexicon Of Love. There's too many indie bands out there at the moment plodding along with nothing at all to say (Kooks, Pigeon Detectives, Zutons, Wombats) Some of these bands are so average it really hurts! So imagine how refreshing it is to hear a passionate debut full of great tunes with with great lyrics. It's fair to say that it may not be everyone's cup of tea this mainly down to the fact lead singer Eddie Argos has a unique voice. As he sings in Formed a band
"And yes this is my singing voice, it's not irony, it's not rock n roll" This pretty much sets up the rest of the album which over 12 tracks tells us of Eddie's struggles with girls (Emily Kane) his success with girls (Good Weekend) And generally not fitting it (Bad Weekend) The album is like a great film it's exciting, moving and very funny. Mostly of all it's the most quotable album in recent history.
"I've seen her naked twice!!"

This is an album I play every few days that has sadly been overlooked. Eddie should be seen as a great lyricist in the same vein as Jarvis or Morrissey and the band should be selling the amount of records that Kaiser Chiefs sell.
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on 2 January 2012
I just love this band. Everytime I listen to one of their albums I'm laughing by the end and in an immeasurably better mood. Lyrics like theirs are probably too clever for their own good, but their music and sense of humour stands on its own two legs to make for a great debut album.

Formed a Band, My Little Brother, Modern Art, Bang Bang Rock and Roll, Fight and 18,000 Lira are my standouts.

I implore everyone to give them a listen. If they're not your thing, fair enough, but if they are, you'll love this album - I hope - as much as I do.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2006
The best album of 2005! Looking at other reviews here and on other sites, the majority tend to agree with me that this is a great album. The dissenters seem mainly to make unfair comparisons to (mainly) The Fall and (secondly) The Streets - purely (it seems to me) because of the vocal style of Mr Argos. I won't deny the brilliance of Messrs Smith or Skinner, but that doesn't stop me loving this album - a combination of great songs and fantastic lyrics, all delivered in a style that sets Art Brut apart from the current crop of new wave / post punk derivatives. Not a duff track on this album, but for me the highlight is Rusted Guns of Milan - if you've ever been there (and god knows I have) then it has to strike a chord.
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While lead singer Eddie Argos has a voice which divides opinion, personally I find it honest and affecting...and "real" (unaffected). His lyrics are from the heart and as unpolished as the art movement the band takes its name from. Short, sweet and to the point this album is perfect.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2005
I had my reservations about this album, however I was totally wrong when I listened to it.
The lyrics above all have made this album a piece of art. Argos amuses me on every track with the intense enthusiasm in his voice:
"I saw her naked TWICE! I saw her naked TWICE!"
The whole album creates a very strong picture of Argos and his half silly, half serious attitude. An over-grown schoolboy who is still in love with his teenage crush-Emily Kane.
People have given severe critisisms about Art Brut, saying that Argos is trying to imitate the voice from The Streets. I strongly disagree with this comment, his style is fresh, and exciting. A perfect, cooly uncool band for younger and older generations of today.
Being only 14 myself, this new but old style of music fasinates me, it's a must have for everyone, buy it.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2005
This is one of the top 10 debut albums in rock 'n' roll history. It makes me want to dispose of all my other cd's. Yes it is sarcastic and humorous. Yes they have influences, including Wire, Roxy Music, Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias, F Ferdinand, Gang of Four. They have taken the influences and have made a brilliant record. You will still be listening to this in 20 years and Coldplay will be long forgotten.
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