& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & "P & lt;/span & ump Up the Volume," the opening track to Art Brut's second effort, offers the listener the first indication that the band's perspective has changed. Or at least that singer Eddie Argos wants us to think so. Consequences take center stage throughout the lyrics, especially those about love and all the things that eventually go wrong. That's fine. But for those interested in the happy-go-lucky stupidity of Bang Bang Rock and Roll, the album might be a serious letdown.
"People in Love" simplifies the pursuit here, as Argos boasts: "To every girl that's ever been with me / I got over you all / Eventually." Disguising their musical growing pains in colors more readily accessible, Art Brut succeeds in constructing a persona vastly different from that of the band's earlier work. Just how seriously one takes Argos is another matter -- a noteworthy complication for all aspiring music snobs.
-- CAREY MURPHY
DOWNLOAD: "I Will Survive"
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
Those the Brokes
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & M & lt;/span & eeting somewhere in the nebulous realm between Britpop and indie-rock, the Magic Numbers coerce those summery sweet sounds that make the breezy days that much more pleasant. Not exactly a rock outfit, but not quite the "easy listening" collective that iTunes offers as their designation, the band meanders between sincere self-assessment set to bright guitar chords and the unfortunate downside of taking oneself way too seriously. Just par for the course when the chief songwriter is named Romeo.
These Brits can turn a phrase and chord progression when needed. Most satisfying in this respect are "Carl's Song" and "Take Me or Leave Me" -- the former, a pop gem a la Jarvis Cocker; the latter, a string-heavy lament. Diving into folk-psychedelia shakes things up, but the band doesn't maintain the aura long enough to suggest anything other than quirky experimentation. Good enough to sample for what remains of the season.
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.