RECORDINGS Quick Spins

RECORDINGS Quick Spins

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

IT'S A BIT COMPLICATED

Art Brut

Ayear ago, Art Brut felt like a possible hip alternative to the hyped British buzz band Arctic Monkeys. Art Brut's snarky, side-splitting single "Formed a Band" was so incredibly stupid it was genius: "Formed a band! We formed a band!" vocalist Eddie Argos proclaimed as guitars pummeled. "Look at us! We formed a band!"

They're still in a band! But it's not as fun anymore. In fact, it's borderline grating on this second CD. It's a symptom of the group's brain-numbing blueprint, which is powered by Argos's relentless accent and repetitive vocal style. Still talking about broken love or mix tapes, not actually singing, Argos chants short, sorta catchy phrases over and over until, eventually, you feel like chucking your iPod at the nearest person with bad teeth.

One could argue that Art Brut has grown by adding production heft; the group injects melodic backing vocals and horns into "Late Sunday Evening." But Art Brut's most consistently engaging aspect is its inspired punk-rock guitar ideas, which resemble late-era Black Flag on songs such as "Pump Up the Volume" and "I Will Survive."

Downloaders should grab "Direct Hit," a fist-pumping, hot-rocking dance floor anthem. It's a great tune. After that, it's tough to find much about Art Brut to make you want to look at this band -- let alone listen -- for more than a few minutes at a time.

-- Michael Deeds

DOWNLOAD THESE: "Direct Hit," "Nag Nag Nag Nag"

AT MY AGE

Nick Lowe


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