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Finding Redemption in Rock 'n' Roll

At its best, Art Brut becomes a garage-band version of what The Clash used to be.
At its best, Art Brut becomes a garage-band version of what The Clash used to be.

The English rock band Art Brut erupts with a fireball of adolescent rage on "My Little Brother," which arrives complete with galloping guitars and drums that recall the opening of The Clash's classic "London Calling." When frontman Eddie Argos begins to sing, Art Brut even more explicitly brings to mind a garage-band version of its great ancestor.

At the heart of "My Little Brother" lies the story of a family member who, at 22, discovers rock 'n' roll and makes tapes of "bootlegs and B-sides" instead of singles. Argos sings with manic fervor: "My little brother just discovered rock 'n' roll / There's a noise in his head and he's out of control."

Like a weird combination of Jonathan Richman and Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Argos sneers and shouts, with sarcastic, often humorous observations that mock, yet ultimately glorify, the unique power of rock 'n' roll. On "My Little Brother," Art Brut offers the promise of reckless abandon and rock redemption that every garage band should long to re-create.

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Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.