Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll

‘Every girl that I see since, looks just like you when I squint’




‘Every girl that I see since, looks just like you when I squint’




There’s something life affirming about seeing Art Brut live. Believe me, if you go to an Art Brut gig with your head in your hands and a tear in your eye, you’ll leave with a grin on your face and a spring in your step. So, I was a little anxious about Bang Bang Rock & Roll. We’ve all come across bands who are unable to reproduce the live experience on a record. Well… that challenge would be almost impossible for any act, because a gig has all the banter between the crowd and the band that a record can never have. However, this does document the current crop of Art Brut songs pretty well.


For one thing, there are the very witty lyrics dealing with sex, art, music… and life in general. The delivery is often spoken rather than sung, and when the singing does start it’s you can see how easy it would be for the crowd to sing along with. I’ve seen singer Eddie’s style compared to Jarvis Cocker, and indeed Art Brut compared to Pulp. Although I don’t quite agree with this, (as Pulp songs are more narrative for instance), it does give you a general idea about  the style of Art Brut. Catchy songs, quite English but with a wonderfully slanted view of the world.


Bang Bang Rock & Roll cracks along at a fair old pace, with one corking track after the other. Stand out songs for me include Formed a Band (a sample lyric being: ‘Stop buying your albums in the super market’), My Little Brother (in this case we have: ‘He made me a tape of bootlegs and B-sides’), Emily Kane (marvellously conjured up with the lyric: ‘Every girl that I see since, looks just like you when I squint’) and Modern Art (maybe a tongue in cheek offering here: ‘I’m looking at a Hockney, and wow there’s something amazing about that blue.’).


Don’t go away thinking that they’re a comedy band, for while there are songs here that will make you laugh (in a good way) they have the happy advantage of standing up to  repeated listening. Generally I love it. You’ll love it too. Give Art Brut a crack of the whip.



Words: Chris Gibson