Album Review: Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring

By on Monday, 18th January 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

There are two things about about Los Campesinos! that really get on my nerves. In my opinion, bands should never have punctuation in their names – it just makes it awkward to write about them. And second, ridiculously long song titles like ‘A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; or, Letters from Me to Charlotte’ come off as a bit pretentious. So I was skeptical, but I decided to give the Cardiff seven-piece indie-pop band’s new album, ‘Romance Is Boring,’ a chance.

The album is not a massive departure from their previous offerings, ‘Hold On Now, Youngster’ and ‘We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed,’ so fans of their distinctive sound should be pleased. Their Web site describes it as ‘a record about the death and decay of the human body, sex, lost love, mental breakdown, football and, ultimately, that there probably isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel.’ And while this pessimism is certainly present in lyrics like “I’m so sorry to have put you through / a lifetime of dedications you never desired,” the songs that really stand out are the most energetic and upbeat-sounding on the album.

‘In Medias Res’ is a slow-building song with tinkling bells and earnest violin that eases you into the album, but the next three tracks are where it really shines. Single ‘There Are Listed Buildings’ (watch the video below) is bouncy and has many singalong moments with its “oohs” and its “ba ba daas” that I expect will make it a crowd favorite when they tour the UK this February and March. Next up is the title track, ‘Romance Is Boring’. It has by far the catchiest chorus (“You’re pouting in your sleep / I’m waking still yawning / we’re proving to each other / that romance is boring“) and features siblings Gareth and Kim trading off on vocals. Fourth track ‘We’ve Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2)’ is the most interesting, starting out with a series of beeps and other noises, and alternating between fuller and more sparse instrumentation throughout the song. It’s also got some of the best lyrics on the album, like “I’ve learned more from these toilet walls / than I’ve learned from these words of yours / your feelings are buried in scriptures and fictions / It’s all in the words but I’m here for the pictures.” Another standout track is ‘Straight In At 101’, a song about an uneventful breakup, lamenting “The talking heads count down the most heart-wrenching breakups of all time. / Imagine the great sense of waste / the indignity, the embarrassment / when not a single one of that whole century was mine.

The rest of the album is fairly average, but has great moments like the jangly guitars and strange sounds in the interlude ‘200-102’ and the shouted “CAN WE ALL PLEASE JUST CALM THE FUCK DOWN?” at the beginning of ‘This Is A Flag. There Is No Wind.’ One of Los Campesinos!’s strengths is in their clever lyrics, so it’s a shame that in some tracks like ‘Plan A,’ they’re very hard to decipher. But overall, ‘Romance Is Boring’ is anything but boring: it’s a fun album with a few standout tracks that will surely please their fans. Da iawn, Los Campesinos!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dbs9nzErz4[/youtube]

‘Romance Is Boring’ will be released on 01 February 2010 on Wichita Recordings. They will be touring the UK in from 11 February to 04 March 2010. Click here for TGTF’s previous post about the tour.

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[…] Yeah, I just reviewed their album like 2 days […]

[…] from Los Campesinos!, will be released on 01 February. You can read the TGTF review of the album here. AKPC_IDS += "10680,"; swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf", […]

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