The Arts & Crafts label has landed another awesome band on their hands. This time, though, the band isn’t from Montreal or Toronto. Los Campesinos! are from Cardiff, Wales. The septet goes with the shticky “all of us have the same last name” approach and it’s possible that all seven of them really are from the Campesinos family. Regardless you’ve got: Aleksandra on melody horn and keys, Ellen on bass, Neil and Tom on guitar, Ollie on drums, Harriet on violin and keys, and finally Gareth on keys and glockenspiel.
Anyway, they’ve got a new EP out and it’s pretty freaking fabulous. It’s only six songs, but much like Tokyo Police Club’s A Lesson in Crime, these songs should thrust the band into the conversation.
Los Campesinos! craft intricate pop music, that is driven with the energy of punk rock, they’ll draw lots of comparisons for sure to Canada’s Broken Social Scene (it won’t help that the album was produced by Scenester’s David Newfeld), in that there’s so much going on musically. The melodies crash into the harmonies, the delicate glockenspiel attempts to hold off all the other instruments, and in the end you’re left so exhausted but wanting more.
There’s one line in their song “It Started With a Mixx” where Aleksandra professes to “straggling the line between pretentious and pap.” It’s a fair assessment. Though all the songs are worth listening to, the standout track, for sure, is “You! Me! Dancing!” (Mp3)
That song starts with the gentle strumming of an electric guitar, soft and quiet and unassuming. But then it begins to build moments all by itself – getting louder, and faster. Then the violin comes in sounding like finger nails on a chalkboard. And before you know it you can’t take it you want the music to stop, you’re begging for the cacophony to just pop! It’s too much! Much too much. And then just when you can’t take it any longer the song bursts into a two-time stomping drum kick and there are “ooh oohs” and the guitars smooth out and the chorus kicks in, “It’s you, it’s me and it’s dancing!” And you’ll want to bang your hand against the steering wheel or whatever is close and stomp your foot as fast and hard as possible.
But there’s kinship because the band professes, “if there’s one thing I’ll never confess it’s that I can’t dance a single step.” Through all this excitement the glockenspiel is just ratatatting and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard because this isn’t just music it’s the sound of a band hopping onto a rocketship going 24 times the speed of light into places you’ve only wanted to go, it’s a song that could be accurately described as sonic pop rocks.
Ever wonder how disco balls get made?