Given that Art Brut’s first gig saw them writing five songs a mere five minutes before they went onstage, it’s fair to say the Camdenites have come a long way in the four years since their shambolic, very DIY inception. A clutch of Number One singles later (in countries ranging from Germany to Hong Kong to essentially everywhere in the world that isn’t the UK/USA) and with a fully fledged geek-pop superstar in their midst (singer Eddie Argos – Britain’s best post-Jarvis pop star), Art Brut’s second record finds them poised on the brink of mainstream acceptance. Which isn’t to say they’re no longer the giddy indie-pop acolytes found on 2005’s ‘Bang Bang Rock And Roll’, mind – the singer’s hushed appeal of “Is it wrong, to break from a kiss, to turn up a pop song?” on ‘Pump Up The Volume’ underlines that they’re still a band in lust with pop music.
Here is a collection of songs that reference the likes of John and Yoko, Ike & Tina Turner, Gloria Gaynor, 10CC and Billy Childish (the brilliant ‘St Pauli’ and its refrain of “Sorry if my accent is flawed, I learnt my German from a seven-inch record…”) with the kind of wide-eyed adoration only people who leave Rough Trade laden with bags and giggling like a berk will understand. Yet, unlike their debut’s thrilling-but-ramshackle garage rock, this time round the words are harnessed to the kind of big, bold tunes that will lodge the five-piece in the mainstream consciousness. Frankly, the only thing we can think of more subversively cool than this record is the notion of Eddie Argos talking about the Yummy Fur, by the piano with Jools Holland on Later… James Jam