Art Brut's frantic angular art-rock-pop, with it's lyrical tales to warm the hearts of all shy Indie Kids has been a surprising worldwide success, this is the bands second album, and their first without me. This was always going to be a hard review to write without being personal as the band were such a defining part of my life, I know the people involved, I know what they're like and, most crucially, I can hazard a fairly good guess at what and who most of the songs are about.
Some of the reasons for me leaving the band in the first place (which, if you excuse the pun, are a bit complicated) are exacerbated on this album, the music taking something of a backseat to Eddie Argos's unique vocal delivery, so it's strange that the album's production pushes the vocals so low in the mix. There are fewer of the killer riffs, guitar solos or thundering bass lines that were found on 'Bang, bang rock & roll√Æ, and a lot of the biting excitement, enthusiasm and energy found on the first album is missing, but that's to be excepted after a few years spent on the road together and finally tackling that difficult second album, some of the initial vim and vigour will be diminished.
'It's a bit complicated√Æ is a good album and better than many released in the past few months, of course I prefer the first album, it's personal. However there are less stand out tracks, apart from the two I had some part in writing those that stick in my mind are the two singles, 'Direct Hit√Æ and 'Nag, nag, nag√Æ. The album is on more of an even keeling emotionally and musically, Lyrically it is more obsessed with women, still possessing an underdog's viewpoint and elements of awkward realism but not so na√îve. This is the sound of a band maturing and homogenising whilst attempting to grasp a hold onto the strains of what came before, it's the sound of growing up, following many of the bands' fans as they do just the same.
Published in InPress