los campesinos! romance is boring
    • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 04, 2010

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    There is a franticness about your early twenties. There is a jittery claustrophobia that can pulse behind your eyes and make your breathe short and make your chest tight. On Romance Is Boring it seems Los Campesinos! are writing strictly from that cloisterous, failing universe of early adulthood. Manic and frenzied Romance Is Boring blisters with swells of strings and horns and crunching unapologetic guitar and explodes so sublimely on every track that you can't imagine they made fifteen of them.

    Los Campesinos! have always been the spunky ones in indie-rock. And they stood out because of how darned earnest they were, like the Bad News Bears of the Pitchfork Universe, their attitude has always been just too scrappy to resist. On Romance Is Boring that scrappiness has risen to a fever pitch and their underdog persona is at its height. There is not a single moment where you don't want to cheer for the tragic heroes in Gareth Campesinos!'s lyrics to win whatever drama they're playing out on each track. You want him to get the girl, to get his drinking under control, to finally get out of his own head, and you want him and her to be something, you want so badly for them to live and love and have the time of their lives.

    If sophomore albums were a fork in the road between a sophistication and a slump, Los Campesinos! have soared far beyond just cleaning up their early efforts. There's a polish on Romance Is Boring that can't be produced out of a studio, it can't be programmed or planned or inspired by a deft marketing plan. Let's put it this way, Nickelbacks of indie-rock, Kings of Leon, will never get this level of genuine chemistry.

    Musically, pooling glockenspiels, strings, horns, sun-drenched guitars, slapping drums and a throbbing bass, Los Campesinos! assemble more of an orchestra than anything. But that being said, their heavy use of arranged symphonics doesn't once eclipse their almost fanatical need for spontaneity.

    Of course, as marvelous as three-fourths of Romance Is Boring is, it's dense. At 15 tracks and 48 minutes of almost continuous explosive energy there's a lot to get there. Their energy is both a plus and minus, because they attempt to slow down the album with two instrumental tracks dividing the album into thirds, "200-12" and "Heart Swells/100-1". Unfortunately it's not as much of a breather and digesting everything is really difficult. After a while the dips and bubbles of the first half of the album lose their novelty and become a bit boring.

    But Los Campesinos! have put together a monster fourth album and if this is their idea of a vision, there is no doubt that great things are on their way. Until their next album I am more than happy to crawl inside the bustling 2am house party they've constructed with Romance Is Boring. There is dancing, heartbreak, alcohol and above all else a sliver of hope that maybe the best is still to come. - Ryan Brodrick

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    MP3:"There Are Listed Buildings" - Romance Is Boring
    Los Compesinos! on Myspace

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