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Art Brut:: Its a Bit Complicated (Album Review)

On their ’05 debut, these exuberant English people got big mileage out of a simple approach: lean and crude riff rock overlaid with Eddie Argos’ half-spoken spiels about topics such as his little brother discovering rock & roll (“There’s a noise in his head and he’s out of control”) and his own yearning to move to L.A. and drink Hennessy with Morrissey. No big changes for album two. It would be nice if Argos offered more details that really stuck, but it’s fun to hear him pick through the ashtray of his brain and offer himself as the punch line – as on “Jealous Guy,” where he tries to “accidentally” wake his sleeping girl in order to get laid. Argos’ mates shuffle between noisy midtempos like “St. Pauli” and rave-ups like “Direct Hit,” and whenever Argos’ lyrics get fuzzy, there are enough well-modulated garage guitars or heartfelt choruses to keep you tuned in. It all adds up to something lovably unpretentious – and pretty unique.