Top of the Pops
(The End Records)
“We make pop music for people who don’t like people,” Eddie Argos sings on “We Make Pop Music.” After four LPs, English indie rockers Art Brut have brought out Top of the Pops, a best-of compilation. Argos’ spoken-word vocal style is perfectly suited to this band’s progress to this point.
The first CD in this collection features chronologically four or five tracks from each of the band’s albums, as well as two new songs. From the cheeky manifesto, “Formed a Band,” to the surprisingly sung/whispered “Lost Weekend,” there’s a common vein of modern life and the tribulations of love, alcohol, and of course the addictive DC Comics and chocolate milkshakes. New tune “Arizona Bay” is just as in-your-face as any old material, and “We Make Pop Music” is a brilliant bookend to contrast “Formed a Band.”
The second album is strictly for the fans, filled with demos, live tracks, covers, and B-sides, including sessions produced by Pulp’s Russell Senior. Of these, the songs that struck me the most were the covers, particularly their take on The Cure’s “Catch” because the delicate music shouldn’t work with Argos’ voice, but somehow does. The energetic interpretation of “The Great Escape” by We Are Scientists also merits mention as the band does its American friends proud.
If you’re a die-hard Art Brut fan, you’ll no doubt already have this in your collection and may use this as a mix to introduce friends to the band.