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A review of...

Brilliant! Tragic! by Art Brut

Brilliant! Tragic!
Date: 
May 23, 2011
Writer: 
Adam Millard
8.0

Brilliant! Tragic! could be seen as a new chapter in Art Brut’s musical path as it includes some actual singing from singer Eddie Argos who was apparently taught by Pixies legend and album producer Black Francis. Two years have passed since 2009's rather dull Art Brut vs. Satan, in which the band seemed to be cruising on autopilot, almost turning into an Art Brut tribute band (franchise) rather than the real deal, and the longer recording process has done the band a world of good. "Clever Clever Jazz" eases us into this new style quite gently, it's a subtler sort of sound in its verses but we get the standard impassioned chorus. Argos’ new found vocal style is hushed and amiably off key in places, it's especially apparent on the brilliant single "Lost Weekend" (their most endearing love song since Emily Kane) and "Sexy" which addresses the issue directly: "I want to be played in the background Whilst couples drink their wine That would be a triumph With a voice like mine" The new record does return to more traditional Art Brut fare on side B though with "Axel Rose", "Martin Kemp" and "I Am The Psychic", three short and ferocious bursts of modern punk. We also still get the trade mark funny lyrics which have been honed to perfection on "Bad Comedian" (“How can you bare to hold his hand, I bet he signs his name in Comic Sans”) and "Axel Rose" ("I want to give the world the finger, with the exception of my favourite lead singer"). It's a definite return to form, if such a clichéd expression can apply to an album which is noticeably and deliberately different to their past glories.