Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

by Luke Frost Rating: Release Date:

With We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed appearing so soon after the debut Hold On Now Youngster…, you would expect it to be either a collection of songs not good enough to make the cut first time round, or pretty much more of the same. It is neither.

Despite being only months apart, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed shows a darker more grown-up side to Los Campesinos! Since the sweet catchy pop of album number one, frontman Gareth has experienced life love and loss.

As you might expect given the name of the album, LC! have lost their child-like naivety and optimism. The album opens with Gareth cockily taunting, "I think it's fair to say that I chose hopelessness / and inflicted it on the rest of us" on 'Ways To Make It Through The Wall'. So now we know who to blame.

But surprisingly this angst-ridden LC! sound better than before. The fresh energetic jingles that danced through and dominated the first album have been reined in. The unique glockenspiel, guitar, violin combo is still here, but it has been twisted and sharpened by a more experienced hand. The result is a more melodic angry sound that allows Gareth's self-loathing and bitter lyrics to come alive.

'You'll Need Those Fingers For Crossing' is a rare place of safety in an album that lashes out at every turn. Despite carrying the same themes of disappointment and sadness, it is soft, warm and poetic. As it builds to a dramatic crescendo of Gareth's quivering vocals you cannot help but stop and stare at your stereo, desperate to know what is coming next. And as his voices melts away in a glowing stream of violins, you will be carried away with it too.

That said, there are remnants of Hold On Now, Youngster… floating around here. 'It's Never That Easy Though, Is It?' contains LC!'s familiar pop formula and contrasts the male/female vocals with all the same success, and 'Miserabilia' with the line "I'm not saying there's good in none of this / Miserabilia to show the kids" sounds like LC! nostalgically looking back over the first album as they fight for custody of it in a messy divorce.

The title track, 'We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed' is LC!'s epic, the one that you can imagine becoming their legacy to the world. Spiky, modern and bold it flicks between Gareth's quick spoken vocals and flashes of orchestral music like Morrissey talking over Last Night At The Proms. The song relentlessly gathers pace like a snowball rolling down a hill, until eventually it explodes. "I cannot emphasise enough that my body is a badly designed poorly put-together vessel harbouring these diminishing so-called vital organs / I hope my heart goes first" Gareth shouts, erupting with the anger of the whole album.

A lot can happen in a couple of months. For Los Campesinos!, they have left the innocence of youth to join the rest of us in the real world. The fact that they sound better when they have traded in that innocent optimism for heartbreak and disappointment? Sad but true.

Luke Frost

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