January 24, 2010 - Cooking Vinyl
Everybody Was In The French Resistance... Now!--aka Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos and Dyan Valdés from the Blood Arm--have assumed the position of the first couple of revisionist history. The premise behind the 12 tracks on Fixin' The Charts, Volume One is to rectify the indiscretions of hit songwriters who sent questionable messages in their music while on their way to the bank. Consider "Billie's Genes," a response to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," where Argos assumes the persona of the kid the deceased King of Pop's denied ("You left us in such a mess/No need for a paternity test"). Martha And The Vandellas' 1967 hit "Jimmy Mack" gets flipped to "Hey! It's Jimmy Mack," where the titular hero heard Miss Martha's song and responds to her indiscretions. ("Did you do it/To make me jealous/Singing songs about/Other fellas?") Noted dirty bitch Avril Lavigne's boy-snatching "Girlfriend" gets schooled by the Resistance's "G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N. (You Know I've Got A)" in no uncertain terms, which is why they're spelling it out for her. ("I'm very in love with/Someone else/We've got concerns about your/Mental health.")
On the downside, some of the songs Argos and Valdés are answering are positively arcane (Who remembers anything by '60s marketing ploy the Archies, besides "Sugar, Sugar"?). But the record succeeds as its own body of work sans premise, thanks to Valdés' deft keyboards and arrangements (which gives the proceedings hues of '50s hits, '60s soul and breezy Euro-pop) and Argos' patented sincere-or-smarmy delivery (the thing that makes Art Brut so compelling). If the duo are reading this, could you please find it in your heart (and rehearsal space) to take down Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and that Chad Kroeger guy a few hundred pegs for Volume Two?