Los Campesinos! - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Los Campesinos! - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2012-02-23

Cardiff’s Los Campesinos! (the name translates from Spanish as, the ‘peasants’ or the ‘farmers’) have amassed quite a following since releasing their twee-indie classic, Hold on Now, Youngster, in 2008.

They’re the kind of band that inspires devotion, perhaps because they always come across as music obsessives themselves, a band immersed in the great indie tradition of fanzines, DIY thinking, badges and limited releases. They’ve recently released a fantastic and limited (obviously) Christmas EP, so fans arrived early tonight to buy their copies from the bands frontman, Gareth Paisey.

As any true gig-lover knows, it’s never just about the headline act. Bristol’s Trust Fund bring golden-age indie cornerstones such as the C86 compilation and Bristol’s own Sarah Records to mind; gentle indie-pop with intelligence and heartache at its core. Boy/girl vocals and songs that rattle along like a more introverted Shop Assistants; there’s something familiar yet undeniably endearing about the band's approach. Songs about relationships ('We’ll Both Apologise') and kicking stones into the sea ('Reading the Wrappers'); there’s an immediacy, an unfiltered charm and subtle magic to these disarmingly simple songs.  

Having released their fifth LP last year, Los Campesinos! come armed with a pretty impressive back-catalogue as they take to the stage at the Brudenell Social Club. The band dig deep into their discography to deliver an energetic, career spanning set of twee-indie gold. Never shying away from irresistibly catchy anthems, they treat us to the likes of ‘You'll Need Those Fingers for Crossing’ and the lust-laden, confessional ‘By Your Hand’. The latter song's chorus stays firmly lodged in my head for days afterwards.

The youthful energy and sense of fun that made the band’s debut album so appealing is still very much on display; Paisey’s passionate, Robert Smith-esque vocals and the band's explosion-in-a-toy-shop melodies work in perfectly chaotic unison.

Tracks from last year's No Blues are greeted like old favourites, with the lovelorn ‘Glue Me’ and the surreal indie-funk of ‘Avocado, Baby’ standing out. The most enthusiastic reception is perhaps saved for early-days classic ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ (what is it with this band and exclamation marks?). Gareth plays the glockenspiel with a joyful, frenzied energy as the Brudenell crowd become a sea of bobbing heads.

As if the set isn’t already special enough, the band unveil their new Christmas song: the swooning, Sufjan Stevens worthy ‘When Christmas Comes’. Los Campesinos! know how to write songs that sit on the right side of anthemic and twee, never falling into the bland pitfalls that many would with such influences.

Los Campesinos! remind you that ‘indie’ can be intelligent and fun. I leave clutching the new Christmas EP and feeling like I should start a fanzine. 

Comments (3)

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I saw you there, Andy! Next time I shall have to come up and say hi!

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Ha, really? Well, great minds do think alike. Yeah, we'll have to have a beer there sometime

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