Label: Rough Trade Release Date: 20/04/09 Website: www.artbrut.org.uk Art Brut are arguably the most notorious love to hate/hate to love band around at the moment. Admittedly, I put this album on expecting not to like it, but with Pixies frontman Frank Black taking role as the producer, combined with Eddie Argos’ witty lyrics about unashamedly reading comics and stalking girls, it becomes an undeniable guilty pleasure. There’s something so genuine and lovable about Argos’ lyrics that, although the songs may not be instantly likable, it’s hard not to want to join in as he blurts out punchy one-liners like “cool your warm jets, Brian Eno” and “I fought the floor, and the floor won”. Lyrically, this album also reveals Argos’ inner nerd more clearly than before. If you’ve ever had a friend who has spent at least 60% of his/her life debating which line-up of Justice League was superior, then ‘DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake’ will definitely provoke a smile, a cheeky giggle, and a phone call to said friend asking them if they’ve heard the song. After hearing Frank Black was going to be producing the album, I expected some dramatic evolution of Art Brut’s sound, but it’s difficult to pin-point any definite sense of development since their debut single ‘Formed A Band’ in 2004. That isn’t to say Art Brut don’t have a distinctive sound, or that the album itself isn’t good. It’s Argos’ witty monotone, and the way he finds that place between singing and talking and gives it hell, that gives Art Brut an instantly recognisable sound. This sound does get tiresome though, especially in regards to tracks like ‘The Replacements’ and ‘Twist and Shout’, on which Argos’ lyrics cease to be entertaining, and cues the sighing and rolling of eyes. That being said, it depends what you’re looking to get out of Art Brut, and whether you approach this album as form of light-hearted entertainment or a deeply serious musical creation. Sitting in your room at night, brow firmly knitted as you search for clues to a new musical revolution, will get you thirty seconds into the album. There will be sneering and scoffing, shortly followed by the smashing of a window as your laptop goes crashing through it. However, if you approach this album the way two drunk friends approach one another at a party, you’ll get on really well. Eddie Argos is uncompromising in his style, which is definitely admirable, but the lack of melodic coherence throughout the album gets grating after a while. It takes until the tenth track ‘Summer Job’ for a decent slice of vocal melody. The intro has a certain Vampire Weekend edge to it which gives it instant summer-anthem status. The guitar lines are still fairly simple, but have a warmer sound than any of the other tracks. Frank Black’s influence is definitely highlighted in the later tracks of the album, which wouldn’t sound out of place in a compilation CD next to ‘Here Comes Your Man’. I was harbouring a secret fondness for Art Brut Vs Satan most of the way through, tongue placed firmly in cheek, but ‘Summer Job’ based my fondness on something more than comedy value. The final track ‘Mysterious Bruises’ continues to re-affirm suspicions that Art Brut are worthier of more than background party music. It’s just a shame that it takes until the tenth track for them to show that they’re capable of more than candid lyrics laid down on top of repetitive hooks with some post-punk undertones. Rating: 5/10