Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring

2010; Arts & Crafts; Cardiff, Wales

What the fuck does a "more mature" album mean? Do you mean to say the band is aging? Outgrowing there youthful sentiments? Are they calming down? Getting ready to be played on AOR radio? Or are they going the opposite direction? Getting old and bitter a-la Bob Dylan or Lou Reed? Does there music slow down or speed up? Does this mean less sex jokes? Talk of kids? Is it a good thing, or one to be avoided at all costs?

Fuck you.

This is Los Campesinos!'s least mature album.

Hold On Now, Youngers was, in a word, happy. We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed followed six months after and was not. Infact it was unapologetically universe hating depressed, "shout at the world because the world doesn't love you", reminiscent of, well, you and me circa seventh and eighth grade. It was earnest and brave. It is true that we are over saturated with obnoxious pre-teen self indulgent ennui these days - see Twilight and My Chemical Romance - but in backlash every serious person walks around afraid to feel angst at all lest they be pigeon-holed in with the emo crowd. We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed was refreshing and powerful and catchy and life changing in all the right embarrassing ways. I am embarrassed to call an album life changing in the first place, the words reserved for girls talking about Bell & Sebastian or the Desemberists and the like, but there it is.

But really, why is angst and ennui considered so pubescent? Because you can't sustain it. I held out for three or four years I guess, but you cannot continue to live like that. Adrian recently said to me "the only way to live by Nihilism is to commit suicide." And no one wants to die. So what to do? You could grow up I suppose, be like the Pixies in their reunion (as documented in the flick loudQuietloud). Forget your rage. Be your idles. Live the world get a job toughen up get over it. Or you could come with me and become obsessed with girls (or boys if you prefer to have sex with those). It gives you a nice out, don't you see. It allows you to stay angry and give up hope. It allows you to fall into worries and darkness and hedonism, wile also making you forget about the rest of the world, and not have to kill yourself. When the concept of love and sex is not life-affirming, it helps you forget you exist.

Los Campesinos is with me and don't let the album title fool you. This is all about girls. And though still miserable its not in the Miserabilia choosing hopelessness kind of way. "Lets talk about you for a minute, with the vomit at your gullet, from a half bottle of vodka that we'd stolen from the optic" kicks off album opener In Medias Res (meaning "into the middle of affairs") and continues from there, bitter, fucked up, drunk, angry, horny.

To appropriate this self-destruction the band have added a few more aggressive layers to their trademarked hyper layered sound. At some points it begins to approach unrelenting noise rock in the vain of The Velvet Teen or Xiu Xiu (who makes an appearance on this album). Electronics, two overhauled guitars, violin, keyboard, drums, bass, shouts, and sometimes horns, there is always ten things going on at once always motion always passion in Tom's jaw dropingly complex arrangements (the glockenspiel still has one or two parts. bitches.). Gareth still mixes his combination of pop and pretension and passion, throwing in his trademarked music nerd and soccer worshiping lines now and then with stunning results. "I think we need more post coital and less post-rock, feels like the build up takes for ever but you never get me off" he murmurs on Straight In At 101. And they keep going, a deal longer than their previous efforts.

Not to say the album is perfect, its a bit to much at times, a bit exhausting to listen to in one sitting. And the harshness of the sound leaves the songs themselves a bit less memorable. Still, Los Campesinos! are a band always teetering on the edge, they are the most beautiful most doomed band alive, and we are all predicting from day one their demise. They cannot go on forever like this, soon they will have to explode. Thank god today is not the day.

01. In Medias Res
02. There Are Listed Buildings
03. Romance Is Boring
04. We've Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2)
05. Plan A
06. 200-102
07. Straight in at 101
08. Who Fell Asleep In
09. I Warned You: Do Not Make an Enemy of Me
10. Heart Swells/100-1
11. I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know
12. A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; or, Letters From Me to Charlotte
13. The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future
14. This Is a Flag. There Is No Wind.
15. Coda: A Burn Scar in the Shape of the Sooner State

thought. you. should. know.

1 comment:

  1. Thank God this is up, that person from Unicornology probably thought we were turning into a metal blog.

    I might have to buy this before you can come back, I'm not sure I can wait 6 months to hear this album.