Ever wanted to start a band, convinced you'd be the greatest there ever was? Art Brut's contagious hit single "Formed A Band" is all about just that – "Formed a band / we formed a band / look at us / we formed a band!" It's two minutes, 57 seconds of pure Brit-punk bliss, a catchy single you want to pass along to your friends, with thrashing guitar riffs from Ian Catskilkin and bellowing pure-joy vocals by charismatic frontman Eddie Argos.
It's a song all about wanting to be the best band in the world – "We're going to write a song as universal as Happy Birthday!" Argos hollers at one point – and full of youthful zest, with a slightly ironic wink to it. It's at least the equal of another recent British import's first hit single, The Arctic Monkeys' "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor."
But can Art Brut deliver more than one fiery one-hit wonder? After "Band" came out in 2004, the band's singles hit charts in their native Britain and won kudos. They soon put out a full album, Bang Bang Rock & Roll, last year. Bang Bang Rock & Roll recently made it to a stateside release on Downtown Records, with three new tracks not on the original UK version. It's a disc that's got plenty of witty pop-punk allure. Art Brut can be safely weighed in with the burgeoning "art-punk" wave of UK bands like the Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party.
"Formed A Band" is such a fun single it's a hard act for Bang Bang Rock & Roll to follow (wisely, it kicks off the CD), but Art Brut comes close with tunes like "My Little Brother" ("My little brother just discovered rock 'n' roll," Argos chants over and over in this pogo-bounce of a number) or "Moving To L.A.," a swaying ode to life on American shores. "Really Bad Weekend" has a deadpan wit relating a sexual encounter gone awry.