Los Campesinos! have come along way since their first performance back in 2006. In the years following 2008’s debut ‘Hold on Now, Youngster…’ the band have released 5 official albums and a number of EP’s. Signing to Wichita Recordings early on in their career and with label mates such as Bloc Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Bright Eyes to name but a few, it’s clear that even the label saw something special in Los Campesinos! Throughout various lineup changes the band have toured extensively and played mainstage and headlined at both Reading/ Leeds and Latitude Festival respectively.
‘Sick Scenes’ is the band’s first long player since 2013’s ‘No Blues’ – an album well received by fans and critics alike. There’s likely some anticipation from album number six.
The raucous indie pop of ‘Renato Dall’Ara, 2008’ comes out guns blazing both lyrically and musically; the opening line of “Turn up pissed up, a pariah, uninvited to his alldayer” paints a vivid picture from the off! ‘Sad Suppers’ pulls the mood back down without dropping the energy – a somewhat bittersweet feeling that encapsulates the entire album and some that Los Campesinos! are famed for.
‘I Broke up in Amarante’ pays homage the the dire tournament that was Euro 2016 (from Englands perspective at least). As it turns out Los Campesinos! were recording ‘Sick Scenes’ in Portugal and as Gareth Campesinos! (each member of the band adopts the surname Campesinos! which interestingly is Spanish for peasant) the song is about consoling himself with alcohol whilst Portugal partied around them! With that in mind the lyric “(It seems unfair) to try your best but feel the worst” seems wholly apt.
‘Sick Scenes’ is littered with lyrical gems and solid songwriting but it falls to the subdued ‘The Fall of Home’ to really highlight the band’s talent. A sobering realisation that the towns we grew up in have changed and even our own country has undergone some significant changes. Lyrics like “Left your hometown, for somewhere new. Don’t be surprised now it’s leaving you.” and “Gave the fascists a thousand ticks” are tip of the hat to the political climate we’re in. There’s an undercurrent throughout many of the lyrical themes that suggest Los Campesinos! have had some time to “grow up” – something many of us 30 somethings can understand.
It’s all too easy to slip into a groove and (for want of a better expression) follow the path of least resistance. I mean, think about it? How often have you thought about trying a new restaurant and bottled it at the last minute to go with a tried and tested eatery or ended up watching a film because you’ve ‘seen it a million times!’ I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s guilty of doing the same with music too and it’s crying shame as some quality acts slip under your radar. Los Campesinos! are one of those acts and if you’ve got a hankering for some homegrown intelligent but not pretentious indie pop, you’d be hard pushed to find better. The band are currently touring America but return to the UK in spring, it may well be a date to pencil into your diary!