In this, our new series, our writers are telling you about artists that they love. This month it is the turn of the brilliant Maxine White, who is here to tell you all about Art Brut…
Art Brut formed a band and then they wrote a song about forming a band, it’s arguably one of the greatest songs you’ll ever hear, even if they do say so themselves. If you won’t concede that then you will at least give it the “song that never fails to make me smile” award. Pinky promise.
I first heard Art Brut when I was given a mixtape by a friend, except it wasn’t a mixtape it was a CD and I listened to it on my iPod. But I really wish it had been a mixtape and we were still of the 80’s.
Stood at Canning Town station waiting for the DLR (in a different spot this time as my original spot had resulted in my hands being really big time shat on by a sensitive stomached pigeon) I heard ‘Mysterious Bruises’. “I don’t know how I managed to do this, but I woke up this morning covered in bruises.” Hook, line and sinker, I fell, I smiled stupidly picked up my phone and texted “I fucking love Art Brut.” One song was all it took.
If you don’t know where to start, then start there. Right where I did.
Oh to be as laissez faire as the lead singer Eddie Argos, part of what the people who make up genres call The Art Wave he is the coolest of cats. Singer…ish, songwriter, artist, comic book writer, from Berlin to Deptford, he embodies his art. As he tells us in Summer Job “I’m so laissez faire, sometimes I’m not even there.”
If ever there was someone doing it their way and not worrying about the reception it is him. His voice is not one you get from years of singing lessons, in fact he is just speaking to you. This tall guy is just chatting to you over music about relatively mundane stuff, but it’s written so well you can always find yourself in the lyrics and he’s kind of speaking directly to you, so a few songs in and you and Eddie are mates.
They released a “best of” in 2012, “Top of the Pops” (it’s now impossible to say Top of the Pops without hearing Argos’ voice in your head) and they haven’t scrimped, it’s got 39 songs on it. 39 chances to be spoken to about life by a band who wrote a song to make “Israel and Palestine get along.”
Their music is punky, thrown together, slightly messy, their first album was produced without them all in the same room, each adding their bit one by one, this was changed when they got introduced to Frank Black and he recorded each song with them all there in one take, often the first, this cemented their rough familiar sound.
And if you’re still not convinced then let me end with a little anecdote, Eddie Argos is an artist, and when I got married this August our best friend bought us two Argos originals, and they hang above our bed saying “Bring me Tea, Bring me Coffee,” lyrics taken from ‘Alcoholics Unanimous’. Included with the art was a card congratulating us from Argos, it was a bit of paper torn off another bit of paper and hastily scribbled on. It’s probably the coolest thing I own. If that hasn’t endeared to you to him, then go and buy his book or a vinyl copy of Art Brut vs Satan, it’s only bright red!
Words by Maxine White
Also, why not check out our last three entries: