Los Campesinos – Romance Is Boring (Wichita) 01/02/2010

February 10, 2010 by  

Listening to one of their first two albums, I always felt like giving them a slap and tell them to calm down and just concentrate. They were like a hyperactive kid with too much sugar and not enough hits.

For third LP ‘Romance is Boring’, Los Campesinos! have switched to Coke Zero and toned it down (well, a bit) to produce their best album yet.

They still have tons going on – it’s big brass hits, loud guitars, shouting vocals (and of course xylophones) over their staple indie pop melodies, but it’s that bit smarter this time round – you can see now they say so much more when they stop shouting and start talking.
And They talk a good game.

Lead singer Gareth hasn’t run out of ideas, with his continuing lyrical insight into the pessimistic world of youth heartbreak and/or laughable indie trends (yeah, you check shirt), that remain dark and witty, with some gems throughout.

Lyrically witty and dark but musically catchy and fun – you’d think we have a new Morrissey on our hands. But where Gareth’s songs can be laden with gems, (note particular highlight, “You need more post-coital, and less post-rock / The build-up lasts for ever but you never touch my cock” from Straight In At 101) the music is largely compromised.

Don’t get me wrong, the band still punch out your traditional LC! throughout, and mostly better then they have before. Ridiculously long titled ’A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State, Or Letters For Charlotte’ and ‘There Are Listed Buildings‘. The music even surpasses the lyrical content in sprawling, fuzzy, but sentimental closer ‘Coda: A Burn Scar in the Shape of the Sooner State’, and the Pixie style riff work on the title track and the heavier ‘I Warned You Do Not Make an Enemy Of Me’

It’s enjoyable, but all too often overwhelming, and by fourteen tracks in the irony of lyric ‘Can we all please just calm the f*** down?’ is lost.
Just a few less big brass hits, quieter guitars, or even turning it down would be more welcome then a complete change in direction. They’re showing signs they can and most probably will refresh what has become their saturated formula, promoting them to a mid, or even top tier bunch of indie-popsters.

Granted, they’ve improved on their first two works, but you’re left pondering if Los Campesinos! matched the sparser sounds of their second album with the obvious progression of this their third, then there could be a classic album in them yet.
Hold on Now, Youngsters.

[rating:3]


Comments