Los Campesinos!, 'We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed' (Arts&Crafts)

8
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Critical Mass
Label: Arts&Crafts

by Lindsey Thomas

Just eight months after releasing their first full-length, Hold on Now, Youngster..., these Welsh indie poppers come boundingback with another album that's as melodramatic as a teen love letter. This time, though, the scrawl is a bit neater.

Seasoned yet no less hyper -- there's still plenty of shouting in unison -- the band lays down a more stable foundation for the lyrical zingers of singer-lyricist Gareth Campesinos (yep, the cuteness extends to sharing a surname). He jabs at exes ("I identify my star sign by asking which is least compatible with yours") and possible paramours ("Bring over pictures of your dead pets and relatives / And we'll just say it's over if I don't shed any tears"). And when keyboardist Aleksandra joins him on tracks like "Miserabilia," her serene wisp of a voice puts his muttered asides and hysterical outbursts in even starker relief, making it hard to decide whether the boy needs a hug or a tough-love slap across the face.

Despite their proudly worn angst, the septet maintain that the best medicine for a broken heart is some quality time spent bouncing around to a scrappy melody. In the world of Los Campesinos!, the death of true love in a "public phone box, graffitied genitalia from the ceiling to floor" and the sprightly chime of a glockenspiel aren't mutually exclusive; they're a necessary match.

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