Music News

Art Brut

No one will ever mistake Art Brut for a hip-hop act; musically, the London-based combo specializes in power-pop edginess, new-millennium style. Nonetheless, frontman Eddie Argos's vocals are every bit as declamatory as any rap MC's, if considerably wittier and more jaundiced than the vast majority. On It's a Bit Complicated, the combo's latest, guitarists Jason Future and Ian Catskilkin spin out one spiky riff after another as Argos orates like a cockeyed Cockney fresh from the pub. In "Pump Up the Volume," he poses the enduring query, "Is it so wrong to break from your kiss/To turn up a pop song?," while "Post Soothing Out" features the announcement "Every day is just like starting over/We try so hard, but we keep on falling over." At times, Argos's relentless archness can be overwhelming — but a surplus of memorable lines is a good problem for an album to have. Although Art Brut, appearing with the Hold Steady and the Blood Arm, never strays far from rock, its songs overflow with good rapping.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts