Los Campesinos!

Romance Is Boring

Written by: DR on 22/02/2010 18:29:12

Whether it's because their indie pop songs are as energetic and happy as an eleven year old on a diet consisting of ice cream, jelly beans, lemonade and speed, or because they have an incredible work ethic and seem to never take their sudden success for granted, or maybe you even enjoy a few lulz and have taken a fancy to their blog, there's something to like about Los Campesinos! And not just in a "I'm an indie kid because mum buys me skinny jeans" kind of way. They all met at Cardiff University, and play a style of music that one would expect to sky-rocket in the UK, however, it's surprisingly across The Pond in America where LC! are enjoying most of their success.

It pleases me to write that LC! have started to move away from the sound of their previous two albums, which were that of a band with their heads down and waiting to be boarded relentlessly by the Skins generation; they were very good at it, though. "Romance Is Boring" is a LC! that have learnt one important life lesson: love sucks. But rather than mope about losing girls (the name Charlotte appears a lot), they've funnelled all of that heartbreak, angst and desperation into their music, and this leads to a band that have gone completely gung ho, throwing fifteen tracks, greater experimentation and a kitchen sink at us.

The result is interesting, but ultimately inconsistent. They have their moments when I just want to scream "THIS IS THE BEST BAND IN BRITAIN", and then there are those that beg the question "What has happened?" For instance, "There Are Listed Buildings" is a song that's reluctant to completely leave behind the dainty pop of old, and at the same time reluctant to take on the maturity of new, rendering it sounding out of place and confused. On the other hand is "Plan A"; two minutes of lo-fi punk-ish aggression underneath Gareth's lyrics about how football can't fill the hole in his heart. The odd, and slightly psychotic nature of it is a world away from the post-rock build up of "You! Me! Dancing!", but it's experimentation that works. Oh, and speaking of post-rock: "I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock / Feels like the build-up takes forever but you never touch my cock.". Gareth is as frustrated and hilarious as ever. He writes some of the most quotable lyrics around. Whether it's "CAN WE ALL PLEASE JUST CALM THE FUCK DOWN?"; or him writing about his friends with eating disorders, turning a good Christian girl away from the Church and onto sex behind said Church, or this peach from the brilliantly named "A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State; Or, Letters From Me To Charlotte": "They promised they'd be best of friends from now until forever / But both were far too needy not to fall for the other / And how the frequent public displays of sisterly affection / Left her feeling safe, left him with an erection". It's his sharp wit, lyrics that seem more akin to journal entries than actual lyrics, and an urgent and erratic delivery that make him one of the most emotive lyricists around today.

One wonders why they chose to present to us fifteen songs; there are tracks that are quality, but the filler in between them ranges completely forgettable to half-decent, and it doesn't help the flow of the album at all. On the bright side, LC! are veering away from the twee indie pop, and if we have to put up with them finding their feet now in order for the dividends to reap in a big way on their next release, so be it. Whether or not romance is boring is up for debate (though I wouldn't want to get in a war of words with Gareth); is "Romance Is Boring", boring? At the very least, through its faults and the ups and downs, resounds an impregnable "no".

Download: In Media Res; Romance Is Boring; Plan A; Straight In At 101; Coda: A Burn Scar in the Shape of the Sooner State
For The Fans of: Johnny Foreigner; Xiu Xiu; being heartbroken and pretty pissed off about it.
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 26.1.2010

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