Emerging in 2005, at a time when the post-punk revival was in full swing and post-rock was reaching critical mass, Art Brut were somewhat out of step with the times. Moreover, for me personally, I felt I’d had all the indie rock I needed in the preceding ten years, and the band’s overt ‘whackiness’ and overuse of exclamation marks provided more reasons to avoid.
But with their first album in 7 years landing with me, it seemed only reasonable to give it a fair hearing. And it’s not bad: yes, it’s quirky, particularly Eddie Argos’ lyrical observations and commentaries delivered with a vigorous sprechgesang reminiscent of a young Mark E Smith.
The album’s 12 song are punchy, punky, guitar-driven bursts of energy, and while instrumentally latter-day Fall albums are an obvious reference, the sound also harks back to the classic three-chord formulas of quintessential art-punk band The Adverts, and retains a clear pop aspect without being too bouncy. The economy of the compositions, and the focus on hooks that aren’t especially reliant on melody prove effective in coming together for a set that’s choppy, uptempo, and entertaining. Maybe it’s time to check the back-catalogue.