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Art Brut 

With the Ponys and Gil Mantera's Party Dream. Friday, March 31, at the Beachland.

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South London quintet Art Brut is like the first drink you decide is "your drink," even before your actual drinking age arrives. So you decide, as a sophisticated adult of 19, that your drink is gin and tonic. You are unaware that gin and tonic is actually a fine choice masquerading as one that's immature and impulsive. Just because it's easy to like doesn't mean it's not worth liking.

Art Brut, like a less heady Hold Steady, fits that mold, with simple, delicious, and perfectly executed rock formulas that are smart but not haughty, funny but not ironic, bratty but not obnoxious. You don't have to mistake simplicity for stupidity or deliciousness for weightlessness. Despite being named after "outsider art" and applying the Fall's dry humor to chanted junior high narratives spun by a surly twentysomething, Art Brut never challenges you. The group's deliberately sloppy three-chord rock never outthinks you. It just enjoys your company -- as you enjoy that gin and tonic, the night of your 21st birthday.

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