Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Los Campesinos! brings with it so many different energies that your head just kind of whirls mightily, trying to tap into all of the many things going on at one time. The bigger than a basketball team and a half band from Cardiff, Wales, is full of characters of various degrees of seriousness and lightness. It's a maelstrom of impatience, gluing together spears of jutting spirals and then rolling melodies on keyboards and synthesizers, splinting them into one form with words of pessimistic overtures and a rhythm section that is relentless and barreling. One wonders what it must be like to be such a pragmatist that it means that there's just bitterness and quibbling, dark cloudiness strong-arming every waking moment. It's not that the band doesn't make it all into a ripping party and one that you'd bring yourself back to weekend night after weekend night, not to mention all of the days in between, but it's the kind of down-in-the-dumps, everything's somewhat shitty attitude of the main protagonists in Los Campesinos! songs that spices it all up into the entertainment of the downtrodden. The worn out lonely-hearted and the skeptics are all uniting here, on the group's latest album, "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed," a record that would be medication for sunny days if they didn't still hark to them, almost call them their greatest inspirations. These songs are sucking back on tears and worry lines, scared of the sky just crashing to the ground any second and yet they are petting the heads of the bright and clear days, whispering into their ears, "I love you baby. I always will and you know that. I don't ever mean to hurt you like I do." There's a fear of all of the unknown in the band's words, never giving the songs one feeling that overrides another. They are wet and passionate kisses and they are the abrupt shoves to give them some space, as if they weren't ready for that kind of intimacy even though all of the hints were there. They sing, "I wish you would kiss me to the point of paralysis," suggesting that there's a desire to abandon reason and just sink into the thought that this is where you're most wanting to spend your time right about now. It's here and with these lips and without much room to breathe and then suddenly panic strikes and there's a sneaking vulnerability that turns you red and sends your insides screaming, "FIRE!!!" and heading for the nearest exit. It's what brings us to a line from the title track of the album, "And you feel terrified at the thought of being left behind/Of losing everybody, the necessity of dying/Oh, we kid ourselves, there's future in the fucking/But there is no fucking future." Singer Gareth Campesinos keeps us wondering if there's anything out there but the bleakness, broken by brief intermissions of something resembling a hope of one kind. It's strong enough that he's always wondering it too, allowing the confliction to just make everything messy and rosy, or are those the welts?
Los Campesinos! Official Site
Arts & Crafts Records