Los Campesinos!: Hello Sadness (Arts & Crafts) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Los Campesinos!

Hello Sadness

Arts & Crafts

Nov 17, 2011 Issue #38 - 10th Anniversary Issue Bookmark and Share


Los Campesinos!’ fourth album begins with “By Your Hand,” a perfect example of everything for which the Welsh five-piece has made its name—jaunty instrumentation, multi-voiced melodies, and witty lyrics (the chorus completes the title phrase “By Your Hand” with “is the only end I foresee,” a choice double meaning for the dichotomy of a complicated relationship). The rest of Hello Sadness, however, finds the band drifting into less familiar territory, with mixed results. “Life Is a Long Time” plods along on a repetitive guitar riff despite some ethereal backing vocals and a few scattered handclaps, and its lyrics (i.e. “It starts pretty rough and ends up even worse”) do little to help matters. From there, things get even more depressing. “Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions)” beats its title for bummer sentiment in its lyrics of rotting mealworms, corpses, and crucifixions. Hello Sadness indeed. “The Black Bird, The Dark Slope” succeeds in pairing its tortured and metaphorical wordplay (lit matches down throats, ripping the singer limb from limb, etc.) with driving instrumentation, nice male-female vocal give and take, and even some violin. But songs such as “To Tundra” and “Light Leaves, Dark Sees Pt. II” lack the energy to propel the songs past melancholy and near boredom. The Cure this is clearly not. I, for one, hope the ladies and gentlemen of Los Campesinos! cheer up real soon. They’re better at jubilant witticisms and frenetic jive than dim and dark depressions. (www.loscampesinos.com

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