Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Old Spice, English Leather, (Art) Brut, Sex Panther


Art Brut People In Love”
Art Brut “Jealous Guy”

by Mark Cappelletty

Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos has the dubious distinction of being one of the gooniest-looking men in rock. He’s a combination of Steve Coogan, Alan Cumming, Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet and Corky from “Life Goes On.” He also has the Bushiest Eyebrows In Rock, just edging out Jaz Coleman from Killing Joke. But man, can the dude write a hook. Argos gets away with the talk-shout-singing thing to the point where, when he actually tries to carry a tune, he stumbles over it— just check out “Rusted Guns Of Milan” from Bang Bang Rock And Roll. But he’s clever and sharp — if a little too self-aware about how bright he is — and it’s hard to find smart music that you can dance to (though the words “dance” and “me” usually only come together with strong drink and the “Curly Shuffle”).


Wittier than Franz Ferdinand and more tuneful than The Futureheads (and less annoying than the Kaiser Chiefs), Art Brut is to fellow Brit-poppers the Arctic Monkeys what Pulp was to Oasis— looser and more fun. Argos probably deserves a smack in the face from time to time for being so smug, but it’s hard to hate someone who pens a song like “Jealous Guy,” about a hapless schmoe trying to oh-so-subtly wake up his girlfriend to put the stones to her (it’s not the sad John Lennon song if you already haven’t figured that out). Or a band that comes up with the break-out-Guitar-Hero power-chord riff in the relationship-gone-bad “People In Love,” where Argos has to confess “to every girl who’s ever been with me, I got over you all— eventually.”

Argos looks plenty retarded in the Rome-meets-Extras video for “Direct Hit,” where his Bad British Teeth get plenty of play. Yes it’s a fantasy, Emperor Argos, that the hottie in your bedchamber is actually waiting for you. But the incredibly catchy song drills itself into your head to the point where you’re more amused than annoyed by the video— even after the camera pans past the set flats and reveals (shock! surprise!) that they’re ACTUALLY ON A MOVIE SET. Eddie Argos, your ugly mug has officially blown my mind.



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