Los Campesinos!

The debut EP by Los Campesinos!, Sticking Fingers into Sockets, noodled its way onto an infinity of 2007 best-of ballots. Colorful aural confetti like "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives" addressed the schism between artist and audience, and tickled various pop fancies. There was Gareth Campesino! playfully sneering in his thick Welsh accent, Aleksandra Campesino! smoothing things over with her dulcet tones, and just enough glockenspiel and strings to achieve the right level of pretension.

When the pundits fail to deliver the negativity, smart bands criticize themselves. Just see the Cardiff-based septet's new followup, Hold on Now, Youngster.... It opens with a track titled "Death to Los Campesinos!" and continues with lyrics like "Four sweaty boys with guitars tell me nothing about my life."

Crawl out from underneath the self-deprecation and one discovers an identity crisis. Los Campesinos! narrate with Sarah Records props, but their buried melodies, rarely harmonizing double lead vocals, and relentless chord-chugging betray garage-rock leanings. The trouble is, Los Campesinos! do cute better, so one comes away with a craving for more gossamer moments.


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