Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Album: Hello Sadness
Release date: 11/11/2011
Cardiff's twee- pop massive mature whilst keeping the old, depressive charms at heart
Throughout their back catalogue, Cardiff indie- pop seven piece Los Campesinos! have always seemed like the perfect band to soundtrack teenage, remotely harowing but funny coming- of- age stories, akin to Richard Ayeode's recent adaptation of "Submarine". Along with their endearingly sad tales of love, loss and desperation there has always been a hint at that childlike naivety; the sense of stepping out into the wide world, facing the challenges it throws at you and entirely not knowing how to deal with them. Gareth & co.'s output has always been one suited to chime with the wilderness of a teenager's formative years.
Their fourth album "Hello Sadness" sees a sense of change in the emotions though. Whereas before Gareth's lyrics of heartbreak and depression seemed inexperienced, on "Hello Sadness" the emotion grips you by the throat and almost forces you to believe that it is the real thing. This is REAL sadness. The more mature, world- weary outlook on life adopted by the band here is backed up by what is wholeheartedly a more mature sound.
Opener "By Your hand" is the closest the band get to the pop record that they had initially intended to make. The keyboard launches an infectious melody before the pounding drums and handclaps complete the circle of one of the catchiest songs you'll hear all year. More to the point of "Hello sadness" though however, it leaves Gareth pondering his position as he sings "I'm not sure if it's love anymore."
The title track is the pinnacle of the band's new loss of naivety and finding of the ability to form a song remarkably well. It possesses an Arcade Fire- esque giddy, as pensive keyboards start off before the song explodes into a flurry violins and anthemic stateliness, all of which slots together pleasingly well.
Things are only to get darker from here on in however. "Life is a Long Time" sees Gareth reach super- depressive mode and despair at the human condition to a backdrop of Smiths- esque picking as he sings "You know it starts pretty rough/ and ends up even worse." "Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions)" makes a clear reference to the frontman's love of football, although you sense that it may be metaphorical for darker emotions present by the desperation in Gareth's voice as he sings "If he hasn't blown the whistle then it's not quite over yet." "Baby I've got the Death Rattle" starts off as a relatively twangy funereal march, before coming to life for the final two minutes, a lively precursor for the ghostly and mournful closer "Light leaves, Dark Sees Pt.II".
Los Campesinos!'s accolade of achieveing a more mature sound comes at no heavy price. They may still not have a cure for life's darkest internal problems, but they now sound like a band who would provide a soothing accomplice for people older than 17. Josh T. Pearson may still be the man to go to when you want to drown your sorrows with a bottle of whisky, but Los Campesinos! make a rather convincing argument for the band you should go to if you want some friendly, modern rhetoric to get you through your hardest times.
Download: 1) "Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions)", 2) "Hello Sadness", 3) "Baby I've got the Death Rattle"
For fans of: The National, Arcade Fire