Brilliant! Tragic!

Art Brut's Eddie Argos: A close observer of pop culture minutiae, with a voice like an auctioneer's. He doesn't sing his lyrics so much as announce them, hollering about hack comedians, comic books, and, of course, rock and roll. On Art Brut's fourth – and sturdiest – album to date, he delivers his wry recaps between sudden thrusts of guitar and rigid, right-angle percussion. As with all Art Brut records, the jokes are both obvious and embedded: the slinky "Sexy," asks to be played "while couples drink their wine," and the riff from "Satisfaction" turns up in "Lost Weekend" like a conspiratorial wink. And in the riotous "Axl Rose," Argos angrily flips off everyone – except G 'n' R's lead singer. Say this for the man: He knows how to choose his friends.

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