In a lot of ways, I feel like I have grown up with Welsh band Los Campesinos! I got to know them from the beginning when they had just formed and were just fresh faced college kids. I’ve seen them in their successes – both Budweiser-fueled and otherwise. I’ve also seen the breakups and changing memberships as through the years, the band has lost four of their original seven members. Like many young bands, Los Campesinos! has gone through both joys and pains. Unlike many young bands though who couldn’t handle the pressures and have broken up, Los Campesinos! have persevered and have evolved. Los Campesinos! have indeed grown-up.
Hold On Now, Youngster, Los Campesinos! debut record back in 2008 was and is among my favorite records ever. It is a record, however, that is as twee as can be. Filled with glockenspiels, handclaps, and happy, shouty choruses, Youngster have always filled me with a smile and an itch to dance whenever I hear it. As it turns out, this was just a phase of Los Campesinos! They still have a lot of growing up to go. As the years moved on, and as Los Campesinos! produces more records, their songs, in both lyrics and sound, have slowly become heavier and darker. Despite this change though, the songwriting craft remains ever steady and excellent – a minor miracle given their always changing line-up.
Their newest record and fifth overall, No Blues, continues this growing up phases. And despite the name, the record is not any lighter. Yes, there’s obligatory upbeat tracks like Avocado, Baby which the band recorded with a cheer choir. But the lyrics are as cynical and depressing as ever – filled with deaths and cemeteries, and vividly descriptive and unseemly metaphors. As lead singer Gareth David explains, Los Campesinos!, at it’s heart, is an emo band. Yes, the band has grown up. Grown up into an emo teenager who writes some morbidly beautiful poems and catchy songs. And that’s not a bad thing at all.
Stream and sing along to Avocado, Baby embedded below.
Los Campesinos! – No Blues comes out 10/29 via Wichita (order here)