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It's a Bit Complicated

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Much like the art movement of the same name, Art Brut are outsiderish, rebellious, punk before punk, and deliciously libertine. Their second full-length is poppier than the first (2004's "Brutlegs"), and with tracks titled "Pump Up The Volume" and "I Will Survive", expect it to be tongue-in-cheek and rancorously funny.

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Art Brut's sophomore effort works the same ironic, are-they-joking vibe that made 2005’s Bang Bang Rock & Roll such a hoot. Eddie Argos’s lyrics still sound tossed off the top of his clever head, like he looked around the room and wrote what he saw on a dinner napkin. Whether he’s choosing between kissing a girl and turning up the stereo ("Pump Up the Volume") or contemplating his own vanity on "Nag Nag Nag Nag" ("wet trousers in the washing machine/ but I’d rather be damp than seen in jeans"), the words are always the best part of the song. The music, meanwhile, is grand and silly, filled with brash Brit-pop tropes and chunky, Weezer-size guitar riffs.

But the band hasn’t found a way around their central problem: The songs lack variety. It wasn’t such an issue on their debut because the sample was so limited, but now we know too well what to expect. Their particular formula makes it tough; Argos’s spoken, thickly accented delivery doesn’t exactly have a vast range of expression, and their punk-influenced emphasis on simplicity limits what they can do dynamically. Only two records in and despite their catchy tunes and obvious talents, they’re starting to sound tired. Can they find a way to be something more than just a particularly bright flash in the indie-pop music pan? It remains to be seen, but for now I’ll enjoy It’s a Bit Complicated’s smarty-pants snark--for at least another week or so. --Matthew Cooke

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 17, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: October 17, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Downtown Records
  • ASIN: B000PSJCLK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,100 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Cabral on April 21, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These guys are awesome! Witty lyrics...great riffs...powerful power chords...lots of fun. I laughed out loud at the lyric, "Is it so wrong to break from your kiss to turn up the pop song?" from the song 'Pump Up The Volume'. Sort of reminds me of a cross between XTC and Weezer...even a little bit Ian Dury. This is a smart band. I strongly recommend this CD.
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Format: Audio CD
Art Brut are just so darn lovable. Any band that rejoices at their own existance has gotta be special.

That fact is reinforced in their second album "It's A Bit Complicated," which is crammed with more of their exuberant art-punk-poppery. It doesn't stray far from their first album's mold, but them it doesn't really need to -- their energetic, quirky little songs are more than enough fun.

After a bunch of "woo hoo hoo hoos" and a little tap on the bass, the opening song unfurls into a sprightly, punky little rock song. "We've taken our clothes off, in the wrong order/And you're leaving your shoes to make you look taller," Eddie Argos muses, contemplating the perils of teen nookie. "I know I shouldn't/And it's possibly wrong/To break from your kiss/To turn up a pop song..."

Having roped you in with the catchy stuff, Art Brut turns their attention to fast-paced rockers like "Direct Hit" ("Move around like your shoes don't fit!", which are equal parts indie-rock and catchy danceable stuff -- some builds perpetually up to a peak, some bounces all over, and some rushes forward in tight, high-octane blurs.

It winds right down to the brilliant last few songs -- "Nag Nag Nag" is an ideal blend of indie-rock grittiness and dancy exuberance, and "Jealous Guy" sounds like an amped-up version of a classic Britpop song. The album ends, but it doesn't slow at all.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Art Brut is that they always sound just serious enough to make brilliant music, but not so serious that they don't sound like they're having huge quantities of fun. "It's A Bit Complicated" doesn't change much, but it does continue doing what they do best, with a bit of new polish.
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Format: Audio CD
Art Brut's second album, It's A Bit Complicated, hit the streets June 26th. Judging from the five song EP, it won't disappoint the multitude of fans won over by their debut album, Bang Bang Rock & Roll. Known for his shrewd self awareness, front man Eddie Argos and his crew have done it again. Mixing talk/stylized vocals, smart verbosity and catchy melodies, Art Brut will satisfy your longing for intelligent upbeat music. It's A Bit Complicated is deceptively simplistic; its perfectly crisp songs are multi-layered concentrated pop energy.

The EP features "Pump up the Volume," where Argos asks, amidst clever background vocals and guitar riffs, if it is bad taste to stop making out in order to turn up a pop song. "Direct Hit" is a rowdy rock number that you wish the DJ would play instead of the multitude of bad danceable tracks. "Post Soothing Out" is more vulnerable about a failing relationship. It hinges on the wit that characterizes the band's lyrical approach when referencing John and Yoko and remarking that "every day is just like starting over." "Late Sunday" is instrumentally diverse with an appearance of horns and xylophone, displaying the range of Art Brut's creativity and are hopefully an indication of their future as a band. "Nag Nag Nag Nag" is a frenzied tale of "adolescent concerns" from the brooding teenage perspective that recalls youthful rebellion.

It's A Bit Complicated is Art Brut a bit more grown up, maintaining a mature perspective amid a swell of pop rock enthusiasm. These songs will inevitably infect your brain and you will find yourself singing them - with a British accent, of course.
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