Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster
It's almost an unspoken rule that most bands with exclamation marks imbedded in their moniker should be approached with a degree of caution. The recently de-marked Panic! At the Disco
, the overrated You Say Party! We Say Die!
and of course, Wham!
(we'll make an exception for !!!
and The Go! Team
) are presumably compensating for their musical shortcomings by affixing themselves with a thrilling grammatical accessory. Can a band as likeable (on the surface) as Los Campesinos!
be guilty of such foul dupery, though? In a word, yes. Enthusiasts will argue that this young Cardiff seven-piece are merely aiming to capture the enthusiasm and teen excitement that riddles their music, but with the exception of two or three tracks (You! Me! Dancing!
and Death To Los Campesinos!
), Hold On Now, Youngster
is a thoroughly mediocre debut that's as dull, hackneyed and unimaginative an indie-pop album as you'll hear nowadays. Where Los Campesinos! falter is in their repetitive song structures and arrangements; song titles as delightfully twee as 'This Is How You Spell, "HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics'
and lyrics as grin-inducing as "You said 'Send me stationery to make me horny' / So I always write you letters in multi-colors, decorating envelopes for foreplay"
deserve a more sophisticated backing track than the innocuous 'angular guitars/poppy bounce' that drives practically every song here, and it's not long before one track melds into the next. Their girl/boy dual-vocal approach is equally old-hat, too, with male lead Gareth's contrived yelp a particular grating point. Los Campesinos! take the best elements of Belle and Sebastian, Mystery Jets and The Long Blondes and mix them together; but instead of creating what should be a magical formula, they've somehow managed nothing more than a grey, tasteless mush. Crushingly disappointing.
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