Art Brut Bang Bang Rock and Roll

Art Brut Bang Bang Rock and Roll
Honesty is the best policy — even when it gets you cold-cocked by the singer of Bloc Party. That is, according to Eddie Argos, Art Brut’s bold, self-effacing front-man. Argos’ frankness spills over even more on his band’s electric debut album, Bang Bang Rock and Roll. With perfectly timed witticisms guiding his band’s rudimentary hybrid of Britpop and post-punk, there isn’t a moment where the listener isn’t entertained by both the colourful lyrics and the sweet guitar licks. Debut single "Formed a Band” (re-recorded here) found unfamiliar jaws dropping last year, with its un-ironic yet elaborate lyrics proclaiming: "We’re gonna be the band that write the song that makes Israel and Palestine get along.” Elsewhere, Argos gets personal with a diary entry about real-life teenage ex "Emily Kane” and the remarkably gallant "Rusted Guns of Milan,” where he sings of impotence to backing vocals of "I know I can.” The only aspect that holds Art Brut back from chart domination is the delivery of Argos, which will polarise unsuspecting listeners. He clearly can’t sing a note — something he’s aware of — yet his speak-sing style is at times adorable and always sharp. This is a completely consistent, unpretentious and inadvertently funny band who may just have released the best pop album of the year.

The honesty in your songwriting is quite humbling. Argos: [My honesty’s] why I get into trouble, but I don’t like people who don’t tell the truth. I can’t help it, there’s something wrong with me. I’m just not good at lying. I really like Jonathan Richman because he’s so honest. I try to make our songs like his, like "Emily Kane.” I got to meet Emily Kane again ’cause I sang about her. It was amazing!

Honesty though got you into some trouble with Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, who said you slagged off his band for publicity. Well, it’s funny because he punched me. I drunkenly said something to a journalist very late at night and later apologised, but he’s gone around kicking up a fuss. I think Kele’s a right prick, and I’m not saying that because I have a record; it’s not for publicity. Since we’re both from New Cross [London, UK], my record’s likely going to lose more fans with me saying he’s an idiot.

Any regrets in writing "Rusted Guns of Milan”? I’m proud of it. People come up to me and say, "Aww, thank you for that.” It’s nice. Actually, it’s a bit strange to tell you the truth — men coming up to me saying, "I had that problem about three weeks ago.” I don’t really want to know! (Fierce Panda)