11 May 2009

Art Brut

Bang Bang Rock & Roll
Banana, 2005

Art Brut appeared a few years ago, about the time Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand were still the next big things (instead of the last big things), with an album about loving rock 'n' roll and hating rock 'n' roll and failing to get an erection and still being in love with a girl that you dated in tenth grade. The lyrics were completely deadpan, half sung and half spoken in a thick English drawl by frontman Eddie Argos, who mocked himself and the group at every possible turn. The album opened with a single called 'Formed A Band', about, um, yeah, forming a band: "And yes, this is my singing voice. It's not irony. It's not rock and roll. We're just talking... to tha kids."

There are so many funny lines on Bang Bang Rock & Roll that I could fill the column with them twice over. But it isn't a novelty record. One of the best tracks is 'Bad Weekend', a counterpart to the earlier 'Good Weekend' (which is about finding a new girlfriend: "We wanna be lapsed Catholics/ Got the contraception but haven't got the knack yet"). The chorus of 'Bad Weekend' is: "Popular culture no longer applies to me." Other lines poke fun at the NME and the fact that there's nothing good on the television. Anyway, I found a live recording of it this week. At the end, Argos stops singing and delivers a long-winded rant. And this is what he says:

"Normally, at this point in the set, I'd tell you all to go home and form a band. But maybe you're like me, and not very musical. So you don't have to form a band. But at least write a fanzine. Or an article for a magazine that I'd like to read. Or a book I'd like to read. Or a sitcom I wanna watch. Or a film I'd buy a cinema ticket for. I don't wanna sound like a hippy, but you can't complain about it! You can't complain about it unless you're doing something about it! So when I come back here in a month's time I'm gonna grab you by the arm and say: 'Where is it? Where is this thing you're supposed to have made?' And if you have nothing for me... if you have nothing for me, then I will be very disappointed."

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