Friday, February 12, 2010

Album Review: Los Campesinos!-Romance is Boring

This could be so much easier for me. I could just type out “This album is fucking, fucking great, buy it already you nincompoops” and my job would be done. But instead, I will be pouring over it in minute detail in order to explain how great this possible album of the year is (yes, I’m calling it already, sue me).

In any other circumstance, this album would get the “2nd album” label, with people saying it is too much of a departure from their first album. But thanks to We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, everyting just seems like the next logical step for the band. They manage to sound even bigger than they previously, how I don’t know. The mountain of sugar high energy fueled indie rock is brought to greater heights with some very twisted horns and vocal layering, with even the new, slower songs having that high octane feel to them. Harriet’s violins manage to sound so well timed and always actually add to the songs unlike so many bands who incorporate them for no reason. Gareth has also grown even more as a lyricist, not to say he was bad before. Few other people can express so much, communicating humor, pain, and passion and you knowing exactly what he’s getting at, yet coat everything a crypticness that could leave you examining and reexamining one line again and again.

Of course at the end of the day it all amounts to how good the songs are and so many obvious concert staples are created here. “In Medias Res” opens the album in the most unlikely way, with a build up and-gasp-acoustic guitar. A Xiu Xiu style break in the middle and girl show expansion while girl and death wallowing connect you back to the source. The one-two punch of “There are Listed Buildings” and “Romance is Boring” hits you with classic LC , full of super jangly riffs and hooks, shouted lines and the mission statement of the album. “Plan A” dives into pure noise rock and the post hardcore the band is actually found of, with a sweet candy center course that’s actually sour at the center. “Straight in at 101 is one of the most addictive and funny songs on the album, with Gareth singing about romance and sex and having one of the best opening lines ever of a song (“I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock”). It moves nicely into “Who Fell Asleep In” a stab at the church, religion, and their effects on the song’s love life. It is one of the slower songs that relies on its beauty and semi-painful lyrics and pulls it off. “Hear Swells/100-1 a treat 45 seconds of pure depression transcending into “I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know”’s explosion of an intro and another one-two of classic Los Campesinos from the gossip tale of “A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; or, Letters From Me to Charlotee”. “The Sea is a Good Place to Think About the Future” is the most depressing song Los Campesinos have wrote, a tale of a truly hurt friend, not romanticized in anyway. Topped with drum triggers, build ups and course crashes, and you get one of Los Campesinos ’s best songs to date too.

This album will split fans like hairs. Some will see it as their best to date and a band they love maturing gracefully, others that they are growing up way too fast and they gotten much too dark and obsessed with themselves. Or as Aleks’ finally curtain call, who left after their most recent American tour. But if you push past all that, you find an album that’s both super catchy and masterfully lyrical as well. Unsurprising coming from Los Campesinos , but still impressive none the less. The band isn’t maturing so much as getting out of their awkward teen years. Oh and to reiterate, this album is fucking, fucking great.

(mp3) Los Campesinos - The Sea is A Good Place to Think About the Future


Los Campesinos Website/Blog
Los Campesinos on Myspace
Buy the album here, at Arts & Crafts

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