Published on April 25th, 2011 | by Mark Jaeschke0
Art Brut – Brilliant Tragic
Brilliant release by Art Brut is anything but tragic.
Let’s go back to the mid 2000s when England kept shooting out fast-paced, guitar oriented rock n’ roll. Bands like The Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand were at the forefront of modern British rock. As good as these bands were, I’ve always felt that a lot of the songs sounded almost too similar for my liking. I can’t honestly tell you the difference between I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor” and any other song on the former’s debut album. While they both garnished international success, talk-rockers Art Brut put out less widely-published albums which gained a cult following, including Frank Black of Pixies fame, and rolled eyes from…about everyone else.
As time has gone on, these groups have strayed from their initial sounds, as shown especially with the Arctic Monkeys’ 2009 offering, Humbug,” which featured some awesome tracks like Pretty Visitors” and My Propeller”. Art Brut has changed over the years as well. Having been crucified before for being the epitome of corny British indie rock, the group that started a band” seems to be ready to be taken more seriously. With more art-oriented and lyrically savvy songs in tow, the band proves that there’s more to the aforementioned British scene than meets the eye.
Jangly and dissonant guitar riffs have replaced the once straightforward tracks in their new album entitled Brilliant! Tragic!”. The spoken vocals are still present, but they work better here than they ever have before. The name serves the album very well, with self-depreciating tracks like Sexy,” where singer (read: talker) Eddie Argos proclaims that he’s Gonna prove I love you and not have you change your mind / That would be a triumph for a voice like mine” and Lost Weekend,” which recites a tale of a fling with a woman who was flustered by his confessions of love. O, the strife of the indie rocker.
The first half of the album seems to serve as the tragedy. Even vocally, other than Clever Clever Jazz (a venomous attack rock bands who try too hard to be musically inept), tracks two through five are all basically whispered. Though this has been seen before, the concentration seen on this new album is not only effective in terms of track listing, but it holds up with the concept of the album as well.
The album really picks up again with the track Axel Rose,” which is a blatant tribute to the Guns N’ Roses lead singer that even I have to say is a great musician. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time Argos proclaims his man-love for Rose; his band previously released a hilarious song entitled An Open Letter To Axel Rose”.
This album for me shows great musical development for the at least semi-cheesy British band. Though the album has led to raised eyebrows and shrugged shoulders from longtime fans expecting more of the same, the truth is this is an interesting and relatable rock album from a longtime underdog group. Cheers to them!
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