Sunday, 13 November 2011

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

If you hadn’t already guessed from the title, ‘Hello Sadness’ is as bleak as the album cover suggests. The fourth offering from the Welsh band, Los Campesinos! have become a firm fixture in everyone’s mind with an almost cultish following of fans. Since being elevated to the lofty status of the band soundtracking the Budweiser advert, love ‘em or loathe ‘em, they’ve been impossible to avoid.

‘By Your Hand’ and ‘Hello Sadness’, the first two songs which have been released from the album are the obvious stand out tracks. The simple synth motif of ‘By Your Hand’ leads into one of the most singalong verses of the year and ‘Hello Sadness’ is full of a poignant lust, toned down from the rampant sexuality of previous album ‘Romance is Boring’. This same confident lust is also apparent on ‘Songs About Your Girlfriend’, which barely fits in as one of the few upbeat songs on the album.

Despite being recorded in Spain in the summer, the majority of the album could easily be set in the English countryside in the middle of winter. Lead singer Gareth Campesinos perfects his fragile sounding lyrics on ‘Every Defeat A Divorce’ and ‘To Tundra’, a song which he described as the most sincere one they have ever written. ‘The Black Bird, The Dark Slope’ shows off the incredible vocals of Kim Campesinos, whose contribution to the band seems too often neglected. ‘Hate For The Island’ and ‘Life Is A Long Time’ are overly sentimental and blatantly the low points on the album. But ‘Baby I Got A Death Rattle’ affirms the brilliance of Los Campesinos!’s cheerful misery before the end of the album.

Sure the album takes a few listens to get into and sure it’s not the best thing they’ve ever written, but ‘Hello Sadness’ will be adored by fans and charts a step further away from the twee beginnings of the band. It’s rare to watch a band mature as impressively as Los Campesinos! have. At first it is easy to skip over the darkness of the album but as you continue to listen the ten short songs will be a more than appropriate soundtrack to the winter.

By Jessy Parker

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