Hilltop Views

Third album proves to be best yet for Los Campesinos!

Ryan Lester

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The Welsh septet Los Campesinos! hit the ground running with their 2008 debut album, “Hold on Now, Youngster.” It was an almost flawless slice of indie-pop that demonstrated the band’s ability as musicians and the lyrical prowess of frontman Gareth Campesinos.

The second album, “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed,” released only eight months later, marked a transition in the band’s sound. Gareth Campesinos’ lyrics were darker and more resentful, and the band focused their sonic approach, forming a more cohesive sound that didn’t compromise the spontaneity of their debut.

With “Romance Is Boring,” their third record in 24 months, Los Campesinos! have really outdone themselves. They continue to evolve with this diverse album, featuring some of their best songs to date.

Gareth’s lyrics have always been one of the things that make Los Campesinos! stand out amongst their contemporaries. They are chock full of wordplay, pop culture references and downright catharsis. His and singer Aleks Campesinos’ delivery only adds to the lyrical bite. The songs on “Romance Is Boring” sound like short stories about lust and heartbreak.

Album opener “In Medias Res” sets the tone for the rest of the album. After a buildup of guitar, synth and glockenspiel, Gareth Campesinos opens things in an accusatory tone by singing bluntly, “But let’s talk about you for a minute”—directed at a former lover. The excellent singles “There Are Listed Buildings” and “Romance Is Boring” are among the group’s most straightforward rock songs, and they are welcome additions to the group’s repertoire.

Album standout “The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future” takes a more serious tone both lyrically and musically. The tale of a female friend who is on the path to self-destruction, the song is filled with minor details and vivid imagery that paints a heart-wrenching picture. When the musical buildup of the verses finally hits the chorus, it makes for a swift, emotional punch to the gut. The song is a candidate for the best track the band has ever recorded.

All of the the band’s best qualities are present and accounted for on “Romance Is Boring.” Few bands make music with as much energy and heart as Los Campesinos!, and with this release, they have stepped fully into a their own league.

 

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Third album proves to be best yet for Los Campesinos!