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Art Brut – They Formed a Band

Posted by March 23rd, 2006 No Comments »

A big, stinky pile of Art Bruts.Art Brut Bring their Charming, Primitive Art to Seattle
Live @ Neumos March 24
By Tyson Lynn

Good bands have issues. Great bands turn those issues into selling points. Some do it with the press, others through attitude, but the best do it in the music. Case in point: Art Brut.

Led by frontman Eddie Argos, the band pins piss-taking lyrical discourse on three chord guitar rock and the result manages to be both an affront to old-school sensibilities and charming as hell. If you’re looking for someone to tell you they’re your new favorite band, Art Brut is exactly what you want.

But perhaps a definition is the best way to start: Art Brut. N. French term that translates as ‘raw art’. Coined by French artist Jean Dubuffet, who adopted the term to describe art outside the fine art tradition, i.e. art dominated by academic training. Art Brut includes graffiti, and the work of the insane, prisoners, children, and naïve or primitive artists.

A big, stinky pile of Art Bruts.They Formed a Band
Art Brut Bring their Charming, Primitive Art to Seattle
Live @ Neumos March 24
By Tyson Lynn

Good bands have issues. Great bands turn those issues into selling points. Some do it with the press, others through attitude, but the best do it in the music. Case in point: Art Brut.

Led by frontman Eddie Argos, the band pins piss-taking lyrical discourse on three chord guitar rock and the result manages to be both an affront to old-school sensibilities and charming as hell. If you’re looking for someone to tell you they’re your new favorite band, Art Brut is exactly what you want.

But perhaps a definition is the best way to start: Art Brut. N. French term that translates as ‘raw art’. Coined by French artist Jean Dubuffet, who adopted the term to describe art outside the fine art tradition, i.e. art dominated by academic training. Art Brut includes graffiti, and the work of the insane, prisoners, children, and naïve or primitive artists.

And Art Brut are most definitely primitive artists. Assembled at a party, at a drunken Argos’ insistence, and pulling from friends who made the merest mention of musical talent, the band should have failed immediately and miserably.

Instead, they wrote a song equal parts simplicity and genius: “We Formed a Band.” The verse talks about Argos’ desire to write a tune more popular than the birthday song, and the chorus—well the chorus is simply Argos shouting “We formed a band.”

It’s a ridiculous song. It should be nothing more than a meta-exercise in song-writing, akin to writing a novel by using sentences that say “This is the first sentence. This is the second sentence.” And yet Argos infuses so much earnestness into his spoken word yelp (something he addresses in the song: “this is my singing voice. It isn’t a joke. It isn’t rock and roll.”) that you can’t help but be carried away.

Critics and audiences loved them. The audience for the band’s live show—sloppy, combustible energy and the kind of music the Ramones loved to make; the critics for Argos’ ability to slip incredibly sly bits of pop-cultural criticism (“Haven’t read the NME in so long / Don’t know in what genre we belong” being one of the most obvious) into their drunken garage rock revival.

The band is just about to embark on their first North American tour. Their CD still isn’t available in stores, unless you want to pay for the import, and they just lost founding guitarist Chris Chinchilla. None of this should stop you from immediately going out and buying a ticket. When it comes to brash upstarts from the UK, you’re going to find none better than Art Brut.


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