31 Days Of Music: “Straight In At 101”

The fun thing about writing 31 Days Of Music is going back to stuff I haven’t listened to in six months. Such is the case with Los Campesinos!, a terrific Welsh band who released their third album, Romance is Boring, in January. I haven’t listened to it since the summer — in fact I had it in my head that this spectacufabulous CD was from ’09. Nope! And hooray — it’s a real pleasure to get to revisit it.

Los Campesinos! is one of those baseball teamish-sized mobs of a band — seven regulars and a rotating cast of support players. LC’s members all go by the last name Campesinos!, probably to piss off journalists and editors. Somebody needs to, I guess. The music is multi-instrumental pop-rock with punky vocals by lead singer Gareth Campesinos! (the buddy with the ears in the back). They remind me of The Beautiful South lyrically, but thanks largely to Gareth’s idiosyncratic singing/shouting, LC! have kind of a Ray Davies/Kinks vibe going on too — melodic but with crunchy instrumentation and smart, bitey verses armouring a sentimental  and romantic vulnerability (Los Campesinos! is the sarcastic, drunk clown at 20-something house party who’s a delicate little flower under the jokes, jibes and comic bluster).

Or maybe I’m nuts on that one. Regardless. There’s lots of bash and clang in the songs, which usually sound like they’re about to fly apart like a bag of peanuts in a centrifuge. If this album were a stock car race its outside wheels would lift off the track and maybe a hubcap would sail off. Just makes Romance Is Boring more exciting.

There’s nothing wrong with crafting pop songs like a spray-can Jackson Pollack if you’ve got the talent.

There’s lots of great songs on this disc — there’s an official video for the lead single, “There Are Listed Buildings” and a better one for the titular “Romance Is Boring”“The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future” tops both of those, too. But I’m going with this video for “Straight In At 101” I scrounged on YouTube because I really like the one dirty sentence in the middle.

I love this record and I’m going to listen to it all week, again. So there!

For more Campesinos! action check out Metacritic for reviews of Romance Is Boring. Or better yet, just visit the band’s website. They have a zine!

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth will never, ever pass up a chance to make a Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo pun.