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Los Campesinos! Break Hearts in Chicago

Gareth Campesinos! of Los Campesinos!

Two weeks into their U.S. tour behind debut full-length Hold On Now, Youngster…, Welsh brat-punkers Los Campesinos! commandeered an indie rock cacophony, reserving no amount of glockenspiel tinks, Korg blasts, or violin pulls to reach maximum heartache and squawk last night (May 27) at Chicago’s Empty Bottle.

Ra Ra Riot tugs the genre with Morrissey croon, but frontman Gareth Campesinos! and his six other musical compatriots sharing mic duties sought solstice in Art Brut cheer and Pavement breakdowns, the latter which the band gave a nod to mid-set with a Malkmus-worthy, witastic rendition of Slanted & Enchanted B-side, “Frontwards.”

Otherwise, the punk wunderkinds drew heavily from Hold On Now, Youngster…: “You! Me! Dancing!” and “My Year in Lists” came supported with audience shakes and handclaps, while the band whipped out glockenspiels and dual cowbells over colliding guitars. Pop fury was prompted by bleeding lyrics — “If this sentimental movie marathon has taught us one thing / it’s that the opposite of true love is as follows / Reality!” — and followed anecdotes about why one should break up with their lover. Ah, young drama.

Likewise, the band closed shop with “2007: The Year Punk Broke (My Heart),” stacking loop upon loop of guitars, exiting the stage in a sea of feedback and drone. If this is what love hath wrought in 2007, someone do us a favor and put the vice on these kids’ hearts once again.