Art Brut | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Art Brut's debut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Fierce Panda), is a ripe send-up of the Next Big Thing Outta the UK--but it's hard to tell if they're in on the joke. In the tradition of Pulp, they mock the scene around them without acting like they're somehow above it. Cheeky and preening singer Eddie Argos lays on the laddish pomp with his lyrics: "I'm gonna write a song as universal as 'Happy Birthday' / That's gonna make sure that everybody knows that everything is going to be OK / Formed a band / We formed a band / Look at us, we formed a band." He's precocious and coy, and his talky vocals have a range of exactly two identical notes--he's like the Streets' Mike Skinner if he were in love with himself. The other four members make with a fun party amble, copping some moves from the Fall here and there, and because they're mercifully not jiving us with more punk disco, it's easy to forgive them for having some of the worst rocker aliases ever (Freddy Feedback, Jasper Future). Whether the joke is on the audience or the band, Art Brut at least know it's all about the delivery. The Hot Machines open. Tue 11/15, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, 18+.

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