Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring
Record Label: Arts & Crafts
Release Date: January 26, 2010
So I was at the gym the other night, and one of the huge TV screens was showing some nameless pundit jabbering on Fox News. Thankfully, for the sake of my sanity, I couldn't hear the words he was speaking, but I was struck by a quote scrolling across the bottom of the screen. A spokesperson for House Minority Leader John Boehner compared the President's proposed spending freeze to "going on a diet after winning a pie-eating contest." It's interesting Ol' Boner would choose such an analogy. Regardless of your political thoughts, in terms of pie-eating, wouldn't practicing some restraint after such a period of indulgence be advisable? What would Los Campesinos! have to say on the matter? Given their output thus far, one would imagine that their stance on the need to strike a sense of balance would be something along the lines of , but their latest album Romance Is Boring is actually a surprising display of depth.
Make no mistake, there's still enough of their trademark herky-jerky rhythms and sharp witticisms to go around, but at times, like on the album opener "In Medias Res", the Welsh septet sound a little less exuberant. Even the slower moments have their fair share of horns, strings and chimes to keep things interesting, though. Los Campesinos! still bring hooks aplenty with the album's first single "There Are Listed Buildings" and the title track, which has the head-bobbing, singalong catchiness of Matt and Kim's "Daylight". "We've Got Your Back" rolls it all into one, as the fidgety guitar and gang harmonies early in the song give way to a swaying chant and strings.
"Plan A" exhibits the band's rare knack for making a discordant and borderline abrasive blast sound so infectious, while "Straight In at 101" shows off their humor. It uses post-rock as a metaphor, with the lyrics, "feels like the build up takes forever, but you never get me off," but it sounds so cheery, you could almost be convinced that sexual frustration is loads of fun. That's all pretty much in line with what we've come to expect from Los Campesinos!, but it leads into "Who Fell Asleep", an unanticipated pseudoballad of sorts. On the lyrical front, the snark is still there, though: "She turned her back on the church and put all her faith in me in the back of the chapel where I taught her to screw and blaspheme."
When you have a group with as many moving parts as Los Campesinos!, there's a challenge in maintaining enough order so things don't end up too cluttered. However, this is a band with a clear grasp of their own dynamic, and producer John Goodmanson (who also helmed the band's We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed) proves up to the task of keeping everyone in line. "I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know," is a perfect example of the type of controlled chaos that results when it's done right. It's intense, with fuzzed-out riffs and rousing vocals, but equally important to the sound are the subtle noodling and the strings that cut their way in and ride along the top of the melody.
"A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; Or, Letters From Me to Charlotte" is probably the best showcase of the band's male-female vocal stylings, with the sprightly harmonies offsetting the usually angst-ridden lyrics and providing a palpable energy that's able to carry an occasional flat melody. That liveliness falls by the wayside on "The Sea Is a Good Place to Think About the Future", an uncharacteristically dark and brooding song that seems a little out of place on the album, even given some its less-than-freewheeling moments. There's no light-heartedness to temper the despair, and even the lyrics, "this thing hurts like hell," aren't delivered with a wink.
While unquestionably delivering more of the goods fans are sure to get excited about, on their new record, Los Campesinos! also prove they aren't one-trick ponies, boasting some welcome musical and conceptual range. Anyone who thought their last two full-lengths were pretty good, but felt that the occasional breather would have been nice, should really warm up to this. And if anything, that dynamic makes the album's fiery, volatile outbursts seem even more urgent. Romance may indeed be boring, but Romance Is Boring is certainly anything but.
Each reviewer has their own standards, don't judge Jeremy's 83 percent against Drew's 93 percent for MDL, it's just not an accurate comparison.
Yeah thats true. I understand that different reviewers have different standards and tastes etc, but it does create an inconsistency with the review scores for the website collectively. It was a good review regardless.