Copyright ©2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Eddie Argos is the leader of the London rock band Art Brut. Argos is almost 30 years old, but he's made a career out of not growing up.

Our critic Robert Christgau reviews their latest album, "Art Brut Versus Satan."

ROBERT CHRISTGAU: In the spring of 2004, Art Brut bowled U.K. music hipsters over with a single so simple and perfect and self-contained it was hard to imagine what they'd do for an encore.

(Soundbite of song "Formed A Band")

ART BRUT (English Rock Band): (Singing) And yes, this is my singing voice. It's not irony, it's not rock 'n' roll. We're just talking to the kids. Formed a band, we formed a band. Yeah, we formed a band.

CHRISTGAU: Let me repeat that first bit: And yes, this is my singing voice. It's not irony, it's not rock 'n' roll. Only if that's Eddie Argos' singing voice, how come he's talking? Maybe it is irony. And definitely, it's rock 'n' roll.

Although nothing on Art Brut's debut, "Bang Bang Rock & Roll," topped "Formed a Band," most of it was almost as fast, fresh and funny on the subjects of music and, secondarily, love. Unfortunately, the follow-up lived up to the title "It's a Bit Complicated" by slowing down and putting love first.

But on album number three, "Art Brut Versus Satan," Argos goes back to what he knows.

(Soundbite of song, "The Replacements")

ART BRUT: (Singing) So many bands are just putting it on. Why can't they be the same as their songs? I can't help it, I'm so naïve. Another record with my heart on the sleeve.

CHRISTGAU: That's the beginning of a song called "The Replacements," the third of four consecutive tracks about rock 'n' roll. There are only two about love, and soon enough, one of those moves on to music too.

(Soundbite of song, "What A Rush")

ART BRUT: (Singing) You like the Beatles and I like the Stones. But those are just records our parents owned. I can't believe those things I said. I blame it on a rush of love to the head. You like the Beatles and I like the Stones. But those are just records that our parents owned. I pulled you down onto my bed. I blame it on a massive rush of love to the head.

CHRISTGAU: Eddie Argos doesn't claim to live clean. "Art Brut Versus Satan" begins with one called "Alcoholics Unanimous" and ends with one called "Mysterious Bruises," keyed to the wonderful line: I fought the floor and the floor won. But there are also several songs about being young and poor - or in the case of the one called "DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes," being 28 and still eating nothing but cereal.

(Soundbite of song, "The Passenger")

Notable among them is the finest rock 'n' roll song ever written about public transportation. On their own third album, The Ramones, another basic band who seemed incapable of topping themselves, hitchhiked to Rockaway Beach because the bus was too slow. Less than keen on growing up, Eddie Argos isn't in that kind of hurry.

(Soundbite of song, "The Passenger")

ART BRUT: (Singing) I'm a determined passenger. I never learnt to drive. But don't worry, I'm not asking for a ride. Some people hate the bus. Not me, I can't get enough. Some people live in the fast lane. Not me, I take the train. I love public transportation. Train or bus, they're both amazing.

NORRIS: Art Brut's new CD is called "Art Brut Versus Satan." Our reviewer Robert Christgau writes the Consumer Guide to CDs at msn.com.

(Soundbite of song, "The Passenger")

ART BRUT: (Singing) I don't take a book. I've no time to read. It's a long journey, but there's…

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.