Monday, February 8
Los Campesinos!: Just In Time To Ruin Valentine's Day
Artist: Los Campesinos!
Album: Romance Is Boring
Comments: Writing one great song is no easy feat, but becoming a great band is even harder. This simple axiom explains every one hit wonder ever, as well as explaining why the truly special bands (Bear vs Shark) are so few and far between.
Los Campesinos!Have already written one great song. That song is "You! Me! Dancing!" And the band knocked it out on the Sticking Fingers Into Sockets EP. It's first release, no less. That particular mountain climbed, they have spent the rest of its brief career trying to become your new favorite band.
So if Romance Is Boring is not loaded to the gills with emotional powerhouses, it is not for a lack of ideas or quality. It's just fucking hard to be good, and this album is the sound of a band trying as hard as they can.
Romance is far and away the nosiest album the group has released to date. Los Camp records have always been high-energy, musically crowded affairs, but the band has been good about balancing all that clamor into highly focused tunes. They succeed where bands like The Polyphonic Spree have failed because the band understands that not everyone needs to be playing at all times.
That being said, there is a shit load happening on this record. Specifically, there are a ton of keyboards and guitar lines that layer the songs to an occasionally suffocating degree. “These Are Listed Buildings,” for example, could have done with a little editing and a little less of the everything-all-at-once mentality.
A few editorial changes here and there, and Romance Is Boring could have been a fucking classic. It continues down the darker path that We are Beautiful, We Are Doomed took, using boy-girl dynamics and razor sharp wit to decimate any notion of storybook romances. “We Got Your Back” and “Straight In at 101” are two of the band's best songs to date. The latter also features this neat little lyric: “I think we need more post-coital / and less post-rock / seems the buildup takes forever / but you never touch my cock.” (fuck you, Explosions in the Sigur Ros!) Then there's the melancholy “The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of The Future,” a song about a girl with an eating disorder that rockets the band out of the realm of “cute smart kids” and into “serious songwriters” land.
So, no, Romance isn't great, but cut Los Campesinos! Some slack. After all, they're trying to become your new favorite band and they're coming close.
Key Tracks: We Got Your Back, Straight In at 101, The Sea Is A Good Place to Think of The Future
Buy, Steal, Skip: Buy