June 14, 2007

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Art Brut, It’s a Bit Complicated
Downtown Records, 2007

Picking up where they left off in Bang Bang Rock & Roll, Art Brut’s brilliant little alt-punk experiment moves into its next level of maturity. You’ll recall in our last episode the cockney narrator exulting over seeing his Brand New Girlfriend naked, twice!, which had the world recoiling in hilarity over the naiveté of it all, but here we begin in relative quietude with “Pump Up the Volume,” in which having a brand new girlfriend isn’t so brand new anymore, and so his mind wanders over to the volume knob on the radio — is it a bad thing, focusing his attention away from sex for a second, to Turn Up The Pop Song? In this outing, the guys are a Norman Rockwell impression of Brit-punk life, and, like their spazzy first-person protagonist, they’ve grown up a fixation-stage, eking out a little technical wizardry (this guitar solo will end global warming!) while maintaining a constant attitude of Sex Pistols gone Rainman. Like Bang Bang, IABC isn’t some disposable hipster flavor of the month but a tribute to that oft-underappreciated friend everybody adopts at some point in life, the lad/ladette who’s happily entrenched in their art-illiterate world and hence somehow smarter than us all. A — Eric W. Saeger