After six years and three albums, you think you know a band. You hear "new Art Brut album", you think Eddie Argos shouting over some good post-punk tunes. But now new offering Brilliant! Tragic! is upon us and it seems that maybe the London five piece aren't quite that predictable after all. That's right - Eddie Argos, the man who hollered defiantly "Yes this IS my singing voice!" on Art Brut's debut single, 'Formed A Band', has learned to sing. And it makes the Brut a different beast altogether.

Brilliant! Tragic! is Art Brut's quietest record so far, largely because Argos' new vocal style is more akin to a whisper than a shout. Songs showcasing his singing abilities (it's not every track on the album) tend to be less in-your-face than we've come to expect of a band who aren't known for their musical subtlety. On 'Sexy Sometimes' and 'Ice Hockey', Argos' voice is more melodic than ever before, though the whispered vocal on 'Is Dog Eared' has the unfortunate effect of making a fairly innocuous song about comic books - particularly the line "Maybe you arrived on your own/But you wont be leaving alone" - sound vaguely menacing (at over six minutes, it also drags on a bit).

Lyrically we're in more familiar territory. 'Martin Kemp Welsh Five-A-Side Football Rules' is a slice of classic Art Brut, reminiscing over teenage longing ("I used to dream of walking you home from school/And seeing the posters on your bedroom wall") and 'Clever Clever Jazz' (a neat reference to a 17-year-old Argos' retort to hecklers at his first gig) is a song about Argos' charmingly haphazard approach to music that has echoes of 2009's 'Slap Dash For No Cash'. An instant favourite for me is 'Axl Rose', another track from the louder, shoutier half of the album, because you can't not love a song that opens with the line "This world is fucked and you're an idiot" and ends with a simple "FUCK OFF!" "He dresses like he came free with the NME" is another bit of lyrical genius which I shall be incorporating into my list of favourite insults forthwith.

There are some curve balls - the lyrically and musically beautiful 'Ice Hockey' is preternaturally sad for an Art Brut song, touching as it does on themes of death and loss. The principality of Sealand is also a topic few people probably expected to see covered outside of a GCSE geography exam, but the result makes for an understated and rather lovely end to the album. One complaint is that the brilliant 'Unprofessional Wrestling' has been somewhat mystifyingly left off the album, though it's available for download from the band's official website.

It'll be interesting to see where Art Brut go from here - whether the next album will see further vocal developments from Argos or a return to the ways of old. After all, they've served them well so far, and as they saying goes, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? There are certainly parts of Brilliant! Tragic! that sound a bit more...Art Bruty than others. But it'd be churlish to stand in the way of progress, and it's good to try something new every once in a while. This, along with a certain lyrical maturity and witty pop culture barbs like "I bet he signs his name in comic sans" (the Ban Comic Sans campaign currently boasts over 12,000 fans on Facebook) keep a band four albums in from sounding stale. I keep pressing "repeat".

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