Review of Art Brut's album 'Art Brut vs Satan' released through Cooking Vinyl.
Poor old Eddie Argos: whilst he's been away touring with drinking buddies The Hold Steady, the indie kids he left behind so satisfied have unfaithfully turned on to a new sound of doomy, Cure-esque glamour, the world of White Lies and Glasvegas.
So it doesn't really help that ..vs.Satan (The mephistopheles of the title by the way being us, the largely disinterested record buying public) is almost indistinguishable from it's predecessor, 2007's 'It's a Bit Complicated'. Ex-Pixie Frank Black's been hauled in on production duties, but the results are still mostly reheated new wave guitar chops, as made famous by the likes of Gang of Four and more recently hijacked by The Young Knives.
With the musical results being so derivative it was always Argos' lyrical, nerdy obsessions that gave Art Brut a semblance of charm. They're all here on parade again: fumbling awkwardness with the opposite sex, along with the singer's Peter Pan syndrome, fanboy yearnings and wanton misuse of public transport. This time round however the classically British vignettes are just a little sadder, a lot less colourful and no longer laugh out loud funny. I never felt that I'd end up feeling sorry for the poor chap.
Predictably, it's the two relative departures from an otherwise straitjacketingly rigid formula which stand out; epic by comparison to it's abridged compatriots, seven minute closer Mysterious Bruises meanders it's way through a dry funk midsection to a spacey, ironically overblown climax. Different in a different way, the rockiest paean to the kindredly wasted (But brilliant) Minnesotan screw ups The Replacements must be an influence courtesy of Craig Finn, and it's sense of heads down punkishness almost breathes new life into everything else. Almost. Sadly, when our Eddie sings 'Something doesn't sound quite right' on Slap Dash For No Cash, you can only reluctantly agree with him.