The most recent album by indie band Los Campesinos!, called Hello Sadness, is defined by its gloominess. Los Campesinos! members belt out song after song filled with a depressing compilation of words.
In “Life is a Long Time,” one of 10 tracks debuting on the band’s new album, Los Campesinos! vocalists lament: “And life, life is a long time/ too long in my mind, too long by far/ Between my waterfalls and your landslides, there’s cartography in every scar.”
Los Campesinos! is a relatively young indie band whose roots extend to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Just five years ago, the seven young college students came together to perform at a student union club night at Cardiff University in Wales. Ironically, none of them are Welsh.
The group’s songs offer a unique sound, blended together through the musical intonations of guitars, violins, keyboards, hand claps and even a glockenspiel. Those on Hello Sadness are not the effervescent pop songs we have become accustomed to. Instead, Los Campesinos! sings about the heartfelt emotions experienced by abandoned lovers – confusion, anger, jealousy, isolation.
These feelings are wrapped up in morose, often chaotic, lyrics like, “No one matters, no one matters, no one cares,” or “Shout at the world because the world doesn’t love you” and “We are beautiful, we are doomed.”
But, surprisingly, the tunes are lively and engaging and offer a sense of hope rather than the hopelessness the lyrics often imply. There is a blatant honesty about Los Campesinos! – a sense of what you see is what you get. One almost feels many of the words being sung are an important part of the tales of love that must be told, but often are not.
Perhaps the only part of the band that rings false is the last names of the band members. All seven have adopted the last name Campesinos! and no amount of digging reveals their true surnames.
Fans have personally identified with Los Campesinos! since the debut of its first album, Hold On Now, Youngster, released in February 2008. Just eight months later, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed delivered the two of the one-two punch. Hello Sadness is no different.
While a few members of Los Campesinos! have changed since the band’s first appearance in May 2006, the core of the group has remained the same. The lyrics to its music open a window into the years when each band member came of age.
Currently, the band’s Facebook page has accumulated over 66,000 likes and over 19,000 fans are following them on Twitter. Such statistics are just numbers, and arguably inherently meaningless. But with Facebook comments like, “You’ve outdone yourselves again,” “Marry me Garreth” and “My happiness dance continues” are any hint of the success of Los Campesinos! latest album, Hello Sadness is destined to be a hit.
See The Badger Herald’s coverage of the last Los Campesinos! release, Romance is Boring, can be found here.