Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring

Is it Stacey? Does it matter?…


Tom Ewing: I think I admire Los Campesinos! for doing indie pop how she used to be done: bloody-minded, clever-clever, heart-on-sleeve. Awkward, in a word. They have an aesthetic and standards and are prepared to be confrontational about those: they actually believe in “indie” as opposed to just making it, or at least that’s the impression I get when I listen to their snappish, self-certain singer. But that aesthetic’s not for me any more and I couldn’t imagine ever putting this on. Especially as it reminds me of Kingmaker.

Doug Robertson: The people who love Los Campesinos! seem to really love them, but frankly they seem about as fuss-worthy as a square section of tarmac. They’re not Bis, and they never will be.

Alex Ostroff: Team Campesinos are in fine form here. “Romance Is Boring” is a masterful kiss-off, which finds our antiheroes yawning through the end of a relationship, basking in your diffidence, and slathering the track in feedback. Their feigned indifference is belied by Gareth’s delivery, sung with a barely restrained sneer. The bridge might be the best bit, as he howls out “YOU AND I WE ARE NOTHING ALIKE – I AM A PLEASURE CRUISE!” while sounding like nothing of the sort. If the entire song were about one metronome click faster, this would be an easy 10. As is, it remains one of the five best songs on my early favourite for album of 2010.

Martin Skidmore: Tedious indie rock, lifted some by the moments when lots of them sing together, which gives it a touch of brightness and force. This is lost if you listen to the terrible lyrics.

Alex Macpherson: Literally can’t imagine anything worse than having to date Los Campesinos! dude and his inability to say or do the simplest thing without turning it into an arch affectation. Dump the motherfucker now, take his little hissy fit that you’re not like him as a compliment and note that his horrendous song contains the line “I will bake phallic cake,” and reflect on bullets dodged.

Matt Cibula: A bit of a bash, innit? I like these humans, not really sure why, probably because they back up the preciosity with indie questions in the form of amusing sneers. But someone should tell dude that it’s not really gender equity if he doesn’t give the ladies equal time.

Michaelangelo Matos: The way their guitars short out is kind of cool, I’ll grant them. But when the dude scowls, “If you were trying at all,” they lose me: the typical sincerer-than-thou rock-dude whine of the would-be dispossessed, calling bullshit on a world he doesn’t have nearly as much comprehension of as he thinks.

Anthony Easton: This could be a hell of lot more hateful. As for now, it is petulant.

Alfred Soto: From the song title to the vocals, these guys have got their concept down: a prolonged sneer, beloved by Anglophiliacs, with accompanying snot. Too brief to demand much concentration, it’s a welcome palate cleanser.

Martin Kavka: This piece of squawky nihilism, a fun pub singalong, proves that lazy heterosexuals are the greatest threat to the “sanctity of marriage.” Bonus point for the video by Alex de Campi, which pulls off the feat of making a 150-second narrative thematically complex without sacrificing clarity.

Anthony Miccio: Emo-kons, turning every potential anthem into a trudge, only overpowering themselves.

Edward Okulicz: Too shambolic to really hate – though curiously lacking in impact given how shouty the chorus is – and a few ear-curling lines add interest, but the driving, vital “The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future” suggested they could do more. Listening to this in its shadow makes me wish they’d be a bit less Ballboy and a bit more Do Me Bad Things.

Ian Mathers: For the first time in their career, Los Campesinos! have made a record you could describe as a ‘grower,’ but that doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned the giddy thrills that have always characterized their music. Here the way Tom Campesinos’ lead guitar does more than just shadow the vocal line during the chorus (all those little flourishes!) combined with the continued efficacy of a group of people shouting all at once is more than enough to ensure that LC! are matching the increasing depth of their music with plenty of hooks.

Chuck Eddy: More “rock” than expected, and more concise. Sounds like Blur pretending to be the Buzzcocks. I like the little scritches scritching out at odd angles. Having a sense of rhythm is probably too much to ask. Could use more tune, though — I’d think they’d have that part down. And the girl doesn’t really add much.

4 Responses to “Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring”

  1. my main problem with this song is how british they all sound when they shout “boring”

  2. incredible douche chills from this group. literally the worst band in music history! why do they keep on releasing so many singles and why are people still talking about them?

  3. Okay, so admittedly my excised explanation of why I wouldn’t expect a sense of rhythm was somewhat, uh, Cardiffophobic — “…Being from Wales, and not being Budgie or Badfinger or Dave Edmunds…” But you have to admit it would’ve snuck some cool classic rock names onto the Jukebox that otherwise might never show up. (For the record, though, I don’t think Welsh bands tend to sound any more rigid than most other Brits. And it’s not like most American indie bands have exactly been swinging me lately, either.) (Plus, sez Wiki: “Despite [Los Campesinos!] forming in Wales, none of its members are actually Welsh.” If you want to get technical or whatever.)

  4. Something like “phallic cake” or the two-ships-passing metaphor makes everyone cringe. But stuff like “pouting in your sleep” or the mountain-climbing stuff in the first verse is pretty clever.

    So for people like me who still really like Los Campesinos, I think it’s just because they’re trying. It doesn’t have to work, exactly, it just has to be something we haven’t seen before.