Los Campesinos! - No Blues

by Greg Spencer Rating:8 Release Date:2013-11-04

Welsh six piece Los Campesinos! aren't the typical indie outfit. Their music ranges from the dark to the kooky at regular intervals. No Blues, their fifth album since 2008, may possibly be their most mature release yet.

 

In all honesty, the opening track 'For Flotsam' pretty much passes you by. It's quite dreary; frontman Gareth Paisey's vocals are engulfed by intrusive bass and what seems to be an array of background noise which really just amounts to the track plodding along and not sounding particularly interesting. For an opener, it's pretty limp.

 

What a relief then that subsequent track 'What Death Leaves Behind' is of a much higher standard. For a start, Paisey's vocals don't sound twee or hard to get to grips with - it's good British indie at its best. The instrumentation, in particular the rhythm section, sounds bulky and it's great to actually hear an indie band really go for it when with pulsating basslines and visceral drums.

 

'Cemetery Gaits' is pretty typical of the whole record; it's at a perfect pace for this band, it flows along and Paisey is given the breathing room to fire off some genuinely enrapturing vocals. It's the same on 'Avocado, Baby'. I have no idea what the song's about as a whole but it doesn't really matter because its just an enjoyable feast of rhythms. There are even some children singing near the end of the track.

 

The bad thing about the album is that there doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of variation. Yeah, there is real progression here but they haven't exactly been brave with instrumentation or style. However, in a way it shows they're sticking to their indie sensibility.

 

As a whole, No Blues is a solidly put-together indie-pop/rock album which will make you smile even through the underlying darkness which permeates the album. It's a quality listen.      

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