Art Brut – Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out!

Cape Flattery

New Art Brut! The first one since 2011’s “Brilliant! Tragic!,” and “Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out!” feels like the product of a band that has been reinvigorated. Extreme energy on this album from the very first track, “Hooray!,” which sounds like Los Campesinos filtered through the Art Brut aesthetic (I’d never before considered the relationship between the two bands, but both Eddie Argos and Gareth David have a similar lyrical sensibility). The whole album has that background vibe of enjoyable collaborative creation: like everyone involved in the record reveled in the act of making music together. And there are some stone-cold classics on this album that could sit next to other Art Brut all-timers: “She Kissed Me (And It Felt Like a Hit)” inverts The Crystals’ “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” to compare new love to the power of a ‘song of the summer’ pop song, with Argos closing out the track with a group chant of “Number one/all summer long!”. “Veronica Falls” is a beautiful, slightly gentler Art Brut song, about not cheating on one’s girlfriend, that sounds like a late 90s Britpop tune (something about the guitars make me think of a “Bends”-era Radiohead B-side). And the title track is one of Art Brut’s best in a long time, a distillation of their whole vision set to incandescent guitars: “There’s a fire in my soul/I can’t put it out” Argos declares after the group sings “Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s rock out!” Staying out late, partying, meeting new people, an earnest belief in the power of music: these are the things that matter for them. It’s a fun album.

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