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on 28 March 2010
I adore the first album Bang Bang Rock & Roll. It was one of those rare albums that just completely satisfies to such an extent that you don't even want to hear anything else by the band as you know it will only disappoint. White Stripes' White Blood Cells and Tegan and Sara's If It Was You were similar albums. Nothing else they have recorded means anything to me.

So going in I knew this was never going to do it for me. And I was right. It's dwarfed, lost in the shadow, of the superior Bang Bang Rock & Roll. Having said that, it's not a bad album. It starts okay, dips badly in the middle but ends on a run of good songs.

The biggest disappointment is that the lyrics aren't as good. On the first album they are detailed with geeky autobiographical information or fantasies. These lyrics are a bit more generic, less unique and funny.

Also the music is less ragged and has a hint of glam rock in the earlier songs. That is not to say the songs are polished.

1. "Pump Up the Volume" - 2:56 (3 out of 5 stars)
Solid but unremarkable. His voice is swamped by the music. I think it's a poor choice to open the album with.

2. "Direct Hit" - 3:34 (3 stars)
It's okay but I feel it could have been so much more. Has an energetic ending.

3. "St Pauli" - 2:58 (3 stars)
Enjoyable rocker.

4. "People in Love" - 3:04 (3 stars)
Decent enough song. Lyrically stronger than the previous tracks, but still not as good as I hoped for.

5. "Late Sunday Evening" - 3:11 (3 stars)
The lyrics seem a bit random. Feels like filler that's not got a real subject, or point, at the heart of it. It's saved by the band's standard sound being so good and being up-tempo.

6. "I Will Survive" - 3:31 (2 stars)
Something about this song seems pointless. It sounds like something that should have stayed in the vaults as a failed song. It's not so much bad as just aimless with weak lyrics about nothing much and generic music to go with it.

7. "Post Soothing Out" - 3:15 (2 stars)
Again a feeling of a song that's been written and recorded for the sake of it. A decent enough sounding song but pointless.

8. "Blame It on the Trains" - 3:01 (3 stars)
This is more like it. Lyrics are good and has some good instrumental passages. Not great but solid enough to satisfy.

9. "Sound of Summer" - 2:48 (4 stars)
This could have been on the first album with the geeky subject matter about making mix tapes. Also musically stronger than anything else on the album. This is probably the best song.

10. "Nag Nag Nag Nag" - 3:10 (4 stars)
Sounds like a continuation of the previous track. Also it's the heaviest song.

11. "Jealous Guy" - 3:18 (3 stars)
An okay song about him trying to wake his girlfriend in order to get more than just a goodnight kiss.

I like to make an EP playlist out of some albums for my iPod. Tracks 2, 9, 10 and 11 made the cut.

I think overall it's a decent but unremarkable 34 minute album. Could have been worse, but could have been so much better.
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on 22 July 2007
I saw this band earlier this year supporting Maximo Park at the Shepherds Bush Empire and was introduced to their quirky funny brand of songs and recitation lyrics.Eddie Argos amuses me onstage,and this album is no exception.Every song on this album is good,and every song has a message.
"Pump Up The Volume" is great,and of course "Direct Hit"has all the goods.
I really like Jasper Future's guitar and the overall production is sparky and entertaining and surprisingly rock and roll.
A good summery listen from this elite band.
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VINE VOICEon 20 September 2007
In a world where every British rock star seems at pains to paint themselves as "serious" (for one, witness the new Kaiser Chiefs record) it's a bit of a bonus to have Art Brut. Because their second album, It's All A Bit Complicated, directly follows the witty, crazy and catchy template that their debut, Bang Bang Rock 'N' Roll, brought us.

The one thing they have cranked up though this time around, are the tunes. Indeed, even at their most obtuse, Art Brut have always been about the tune and It's A Bit Complicated is one of the catchiest pop records you'll hear all year.

Direct Hit, if there was any justice, would send them into the Chart stratosphere with its catchy, and instantly singable, chorus and genuinely funny lyrics (based around tongue-tied night clubbers dancing rather than talking to their crush). There's plenty of other tracks that could provide a similar success, such as People In Love and Nag Nag Nag Nag, but there's also a couple of more reflective tracks, such as Sounds Of The Summer with it's narrative of compiling a "mix-tape", that work as well.

Art Brut have often been accused of being one trick ponies and favouring style over substance. This album should prove the doubters wrong on both counts.
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Art Brut are just so darn lovable. Any band that rejoices at their own existance has gotta be special.

That fact is reinforced in their second album "It's A Bit Complicated," which is crammed with more of their exuberant art-punk-poppery. It doesn't stray far from their first album's mold, but them it doesn't really need to -- their energetic, quirky little songs are more than enough fun.

After a bunch of "woo hoo hoo hoos" and a little tap on the bass, the opening song unfurls into a sprightly, punky little rock song. "We've taken our clothes off, in the wrong order/And you're leaving your shoes to make you look taller," Eddie Argos muses, contemplating the perils of teen nookie. "I know I shouldn't/And it's possibly wrong/To break from your kiss/To turn up a pop song..."

Having roped you in with the catchy stuff, Art Brut turns their attention to fast-paced rockers like "Direct Hit" ("Move around like your shoes don't fit!", which are equal parts indie-rock and catchy danceable stuff -- some builds perpetually up to a peak, some bounces all over, and some rushes forward in tight, high-octane blurs.

It winds right down to the brilliant last few songs -- "Nag Nag Nag" is an ideal blend of indie-rock grittiness and dancy exuberance, and "Jealous Guy" sounds like an amped-up version of a classic Britpop song. The album ends, but it doesn't slow at all.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Art Brut is that they always sound just serious enough to make brilliant music, but not so serious that they don't sound like they're having huge quantities of fun. "It's A Bit Complicated" doesn't change much, but it does continue doing what they do best, with a bit of new polish.

The music basically rides on a wave of blazing bass guitar and nimble electric guitar riffs, tightly wound together into fast-moving melodies. They can make it cycle, blaze, buzz, smash and blast in brief spurts (look at "Late Sunday Evening"). And Mikey B produces some nice drums to ground the rapid-fire guitars, although he's a bit drowned out in some songs.

Argos tends to speak rather than really sing, in his warm, rough voice. For most artists, this would sound like a guy covering an inability to sing, but with Argos it just sounds conversational and quirky ("Sorry if my accent's flawed/I learnt my German from a 7 inch record").

And the songs he sings are full of witty lines and laddish woes -- "I Will Survive" is basically an ode to slob dorm living, and "Jealous Guy" is the lament of a guy feeling threatened by his ex-girlfriend's exes, and her lack of intimacy with him ("You're asleep, I wish I was too/But I can't because I've got something to prove/I tried to wake you with a really loud cough/I accidentally set your alarm clock off...")

"It's a Bit Complicated" doesn't really expand Art Brut's sound, but it's more lovable laddish indie-rock from a band that is almost too endearing. Definitely worth getting.
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on 5 January 2012
Simply a genius band, like no one else out there that I know of they instantly feel like it's you and them against the world. Love them and have all the albums now, can't recommend highly enough!
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on 20 June 2007
It's probably more of a 4.5 stars, it's probably not the most original sounding record ever, but one can't fail to be won over by the frank and ever humble lyrics of Eddie Argos. Two albums gone and I'm certainly sure Art Brut are on the way to building a non-mainstream legacy of their own. Unlike many guitar wielding, NME filling, Camden dwelling peers, Art Brut embrace the rock cliches and never take themselves too seriously. Studied in German universities, and number one in countries with no Top of the Pops, long live/viva/keep it coming, Art Brut.

Tracks to watch: Pump Up The Volume, Direct Hit, St.Pauli, Sound of Summer, Jealous Guy
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