LOS CAMPESINOS! Romance Is Boring (Arts And Crafts)

This is Los Campesinos! third album in less than two years, and in that time we have seen them grow from snot-nosed indie kids into a mature and confident band. Last years We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed contained their first experiments with a heavier guitar sound, and that is carried on with this album. But first we have In Media Res, which shows just how much they have grown, with its experimental mid-section, complete with xylophone solo, and sudden changes of tempo and mood. There Are Listed Buildings could sit easily on their debut, with its spiky guitar stabs and jerky rhythms, showing that the band still retain that youthful exuberance which originally endeared them to us. The title track is full on indie guitar-rock, with heavy riffs, a chant-along chorus, and plenty of weird guitar effects thrown in for good measure. Weve Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2) is classic LC, from its massed shouty vocals and huge guitar sound to its comical title. Plan A sounds like the band are having a go at emulating Sonic Youth, with its female vocals being a dead ringer for Kim Gordon, and the guitar sound being the most in your face that the band have ever produced. We need a break after that, and so for just short of a minute we are treated to the band plucking their instruments seemingly at random for 200-102, before they pull it back together for the all out onslaught that is Straight In At 101. After that slice of classic LC we get Who Fell Asleep In, which is a chance for us to catch our breath while listening to this slow torch song, and hear proof that the band can write lovely, thought-provoking songs in amongst the rampaging riffs. OK, lets have some more of those rampaging riffs, and here they are on I Warned You Do Not Make An Enemy Of Me, where the music captures the threat of the title perfectly. I Just Signed, I Just Sighed, Just So You Know is another of their quirky titles, but where you might expect the music to be as goofy as the title, it is in fact another of their heavyweight rockers, and similarly A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State; Or, Letters From Me To Charlotte is treated seriously to deliver a more pop-orientated song, and in another throw-back to their debut album it comes complete with organ and brass accompaniment. This Is A Flag. There Is No Wind is another song in the classic LC style, with vocals alternating between band members, a catchy tune with memorable chorus, and the whole thing wrapped up in the melange of guitar noise they are renowned for. Coda: A Burn In The Shape Of The Sooner State might seem an odd choice of album closer, being one of the most experimental pieces on here, but its percussive noises and chanted vocals bring the listener down gently after the aural onslaught of some of the tracks, so perhaps they knew what they were doing. So, another success for this Welsh septet, who I seem to remember were written off by pretty much everyone when they started, either for being too young, too twee, or having too many members. Thank goodness they ignored the critics and stuck with it, and took their time to produce an album of this quality.
 Is Boring