Eddie Argos, lead singer of Art Brut, has the eyebrows of a star. It takes a person of immense charisma to wear them as he does. Lesser men would be overshadowed by their shrub-like presence. But Argos is a cheeky enough bastard to not only wear those eyebrows with finesse, but to grow a matching cabaret moustache that now sits like a wry caterpillar on his upper lip.
So, it comes as no surprise that a man with Argos’ pluck would form a band by just convincing people to join him. He does not play an instrument. He does not even rightfully sing. He’s just “talking to the kids.” But damned if I wouldn’t pay good money just to see him alone on stage, working the crowd.
The cool thing is: the rest of the band is right there with him. And they have all of the musical chops to turn Argos’ scrappy lyrics into pleasing pop songs to jump around to. Guitarists Ian Catskilkin and Jasper Future are adept at so many styles: from the driving pulse of “Bad Weekend” to the thrash of “Modern Art” to the loopy licks of “Moving to L.A.” And drummer Mikey B. is spot on and full of style, too, standing and grinning while he beats through one catchy rhythm after another. They’re all having so much fun.
The easiest thing to love about the band’s CD, “Bang Bang Rock & Roll” are the lyrics. Just catch a phrase here and there; you’ll be quoting them to your friends.
“Modern art makes me/ Want to rock out.”
“Got myself a brand new girlfriend/ …I’ve seen her naked TWICE!”
“I want to be the boy/ The man/ Who writes the song/ That makes Israel and Palestine/ Get along”
They’re funny and honest and sweet. No one’s out to beat you over the head with his beliefs or overwhelm you with wordiness. The band members are just presenting you with a slice of their weekend: what they like or where they’re heading. This is an album to play over and over again, cruising your local strip.
I saw them a couple of weeks ago in a smallish club in Seattle. During the show, my friend leaned over and said to me, “This is the last time we’ll see these guys this close.” I agree. They joke about Top of the Pops, but I bet you anything we’ll be seeing those eyebrows wagging on that stage faster than you can say “Bang Bang Rock & Roll.”
To learn more about Art Brut, visit: http://www.artbrut.org.uk/.