CD review: Los Campesinos!, Romance Is Boring (with video)

To summarize albums, reviewers sometimes resort to wordplay and puns. The one for this album would be, "Romance Is Boring, isn't." And the reason it isn't is because the Welsh indie pop septet Los Campesinos! branch out a bit on their new record. As they did on previous albums, the band play fast-paced, infectious twee, but, thankfully, they also try out darker sounds on the new record.

"There Are Listed Buildings" is an example of one of the songs that is stylized like one on their previous releases. Like many of the songs on the album, the tone of the song is happy, up-tempo, and sugar-sweet, with a sound reminiscent of the frenetic pop of Architecture in Helsinki. And also like Architecture in Helsinki, Los Campesinos! squeeze as many instruments into one song as fits. "There are Listed Buildings" alone has more than six instruments playing at once, including jangling guitars, violin, brass and a glockenspiel.

Songs like "The Sea is a Good Place to Think" are the kinds that are a sonic departure for the band. Instead of the happy-go-lucky tone of most of their tracks, the song starts with an ominous, brooding introductory riff and the playing of a dark, funereal violin. The low-key, almost depressive vibe of the song is perhaps a signal of maturity for the band. Although, their songs are always fun and peppy, there's a bit of tongue-in-cheek irony that holds them back from being taken seriously. It seems like they're being serious on this track, and that's a good thing.

Lyrically, the band made me laugh, think and wonder "What the hell?" Here's an example of each. Laugh: "I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock. Feels like the build-up takes forever, but you never get me off." Think: "She said she wanted a sea burial, not grass and hypodermics to her hips." What the hell?: “I will wait, I will bake phallic cake, take your diffidence make it my clubhouse. But my strength's within lies, ventricle cauterized, it's the way of living that I espouse."

Overall, if you're looking for an album of catchy indie pop, with sometimes confusing but always interesting lyrics, check out this album. And if you already know and like the group, check out the new sound, you just might like them a little more. (Available January 26 on Arts&Crafts)

Here's a track from the new album, "There Are Listed Buildings":

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