Number of the Beast


Art Brut vs. Satan

Downtown/Cooking Vinyl


My IPod finishes syncing, and now has 6.66 GB on it.

The album just added: Art Brut vs. Satan.

I add an MP3: quickly!

The latest recording from Art Brut continues its winning mixture of post-punk energy, and witty humor; but this time out, the band brings its approach to bear on a wider range of subject matter, including some weighty issues. Produced by Frank Black (Pixies), vs. Satan includes preponderantly propulsive, three-minute missives. Catchy riffs are found throughout, but particularly sizzle on “Alcoholics Unanimous,” “The Replacements,” and “The Passenger.” Over these, lead singer Eddie Argos’s talky declamation encompasses a host of topics; but he’s most in his element singing about the colloquial, albeit from a quirky vantage point.

His passion for comic books – a topic about which he regularly blogs – is explored in “DC comics and Chocolate Milkshake;” the woeful state of the recording industry is brusquely lamented in “Slap Dash for No Cash.” Argos is also able to channel adolescent angst, Peter Pan fashion, and creditably sing about its awkwardness (“Am I Normal”) and rites of passage (“Summer Job”).

The Mephistophelian motif of the LP’s title is overtly grappled with on “Demons Out,” but a related, constant theme is the wages of overindulgence.  Partying takes place in “Alcoholics Unanimous,” “What a Rush,” and “Twist and Shout;” its Bacchanalian excesses at times seem to be celebrated. But upon waking up the next morning with “Mysterious Bruises,” Argos seems to acknowledge that Never Never Land doesn’t go well with an open bar.

Still, vs. Satan is no tidy morality play; we are left wondering whether Art Brut or Old Scratch will have the last word. I’m rooting for the guys with the guitars, not whatever it was that tried to possess my IPod!

Art Brut vs. Satan