CD Review: Art Brut — Brilliant! Tragic!; Playing Black Cat, June 22

Art Brut
Brilliant! Tragic!
Cooking Vinyl

After years of being compared to other “Art Wave” artists such as Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, Art Brut have taken the genre to the next level. They’ve done so by creating an album more explosive and vibrate than any artist in their genre has ever done before. Brilliant! Tragic! proves to be the group’s most diverse and colorful record, making Art Brut vs. Satan pale in comparison, and judging by the response from that record, that is no small feat.

Lead singer Eddie Argos has described this album by comparing it to “dramedies.” That is what the album title derives its name from: its mixture of some seriousness and depth, yet with the slice of comedy that differentiates this band from all the others. To match the brilliance (and tragedy) of the record, the band brought in cartoonist Jamie McKlevie to design the album cover. If it doesn’t represent the title of the record, nothing can.

The comic relief may come from titles of the tracks such as “I Am the Psychic” and “Axel Rose,” but don’t be fooled, the band members’ talents make this album nothing to laugh at. “I Am the Psychic” may not prove that Art Brut has the powers of Miss Cleo (but then again, who does?,) but it does stand to show that the group can make some damn fine music. Even at under three minutes long, the song needs to have a future of being a single.

The band can definitely make you laugh and dance, especially the highlight “Lost Weekend.” The energy from tracks like it, such as “Clever Clever Jazz” and “Axel Rose,” definitely rock the house. Slower songs like “Sealand” and “Bad Comedian” may not be quite as infectious as the rest, but even so, the personality comes through.

Whether or not the listener sees this record as brilliant (they may see it as tragic, making the title even more genius – it allows for press reviews to have a field day with it), the mixture of humor and talent in the record come across as fierce as one of the electric guitar riffs. It’s tempting to compare Eddie Argos to John Lennon (very tempting) when it comes to lyrically relevancy and irrelevancy, so I will. True, Art Brut aren’t The Beatles, but they won the battle against Satan, and now with Brilliant! Tragic!, they have won the battle against a tragic ending of their art.

Art Brut play Black Cat on June 22.

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