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"We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed"

Los Campesinos! – We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
15 December 2008, 14:00 Written by
loscamp_doomedcover“Even if we’re scenesters, its not the scene you’re thinking”¦”Is there any more unlikely band in the world than Los Campesinos right now? I mean in terms of career trajectory if nothing else. ‘You Me Dancing’ thrust them via the DrownedInSound message boards from normal-people-just-messing-around obscurity to potential indie-pop superstardom. At the start of this year and the release of Hold On Now Youngster I saw them playing with Johnny Foreigner to an emo-band-I’ve-never-heard-of challenging horde of excited underage kids who seemed to mostly just go crazy for ‘You Throw Parties, We Throw Knives’. But Los Camps are nothing if not contradictory. A perfect, maximalist indie-pop band who do and say everything right for twee geeks everywhere”¦ and yet whatever flirtations they’ve had with the mainstream (seems like everything but the actual big-sales success, really, which I suppose is why marketing men don’t aim music at teenagers with computers) have seemed to put many of those same geeks right off. Almost typecast as just a bunch of everyday young people who’ve been to university and stuff and just got discovered randomly as opposed to some Kooks or Ting Tings stage show back scenes deal”¦ and yet frontman Gareth is clearly a figure of at least approaching unique rock star power; a grumpy, sarcastic, awkward-faced potential Morrissey (/hyperbole) for the internet generation who designs photocopied fanzines for shows and organises high-concept tours with No Age and Times New Viking whilst still getting at least some mention in the NME”¦ openly declaring himself a “horrible snob” in Guardian interviews like he’d just tattooed the words “indier than thou” on his forehead, then telling people not to call his band’s new 10-track, over half-an-hour release an album in myspace bulletins. Los Campesinos are clearly in opposition to *something*, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Maybe its careerism. But to be honest if they really wanted to jeopardise their collective careers, they probably would have rush-released something shit. As opposed to this, a very very good record which just happens to have come out less than a year after its predecessor.I think if we’re looking for quick and easy distinctions between this and Hold On Now Youngster then I dunno, I guess its that, for some reason, Los Campesinos already sound jaded. Not that the first album was *all* smiles and sunshine. But now they’re going on about “miserabilia to show the kids” like they were Kurt Cobain and “teenage angst has paid off well” or something. And the production’s rougher, the guitars are noisier and stuff, you know”¦ (no more describing the music for now). Plus there’s no “father, fuhrer please be mad at me” as far as the lyrics go. Gareth’s just reeling off brilliant line after brilliant line here (“You asked if I’d be anyone from history//Fact or fiction dead or alive//I said I’d be Tony Cascarino circa 1995” indeed). Especially on the title track.The title track is where it’s at. I don’t just want to *describe* it. But, you know”¦ “I’m trying to be sexy, biting at the air that falls in front.” That’s, like, maybe or something I dunno the ultimate source of the frustration elaborated on at length in this utterly brilliant song which after repeat-playing over and over again for the past few days I’m probably passed my peak of enjoying but fuck it, *its still really good*.Where do I go with the rest of this review? Um”¦ yeah well the rest of the songs are really good too. Like ‘Miserabilia’, and ‘Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #7’ (which when I saw them doing it live Gareth described as “part one of my memoirs” and then it segued really acely into ‘My Year In Lists’ which made me sort of go: “ooh alternate reality one-two-punch start to record” which was cooool). Except that it does end kind of jarringly abruptly, which I never like with albums because I’m ultimately just lost, confused, and want bands to spell everything out for me and I’m never quite sure if it *has* ended or what but I guess that’s my problem.Um”¦ oh yeah and one more thing has to be addressed: apparently this album has lots of cool special packaging associated with it like Skeletal Lamping or whatever. And, um”¦ well, one of the major disadvantages of just reviewing stuff from promos sent to you in mp3 format on the internet is you don’t get to see the packaging. So”¦ I can’t comment. But it sounds neat.Sorry if this review got a bit sloppy towards the end, I’d only originally intended to write an EP review, and, well”¦ we can’t all be Los Campesinos. (That was a band-originally-intending-this-to-be-an-EP joke). 81%Los Campesinos! on Myspace
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