Los Campesinos!
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
March 9th, 2010 | 22 replies | 10,123 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shout at the world because the world doesn't love you; lower yourself because you know that you'll have to.

We're unpredictable and we damn well know it. We drink to get drunk and do things just to say we did them; we gamble too much, we're obsessed with sex and music, we can't see past tomorrow and can't remember back past yesterday. We are melodramatic, romantic, emotionally detached and in way over our heads; we hide our bitterness and torment under layers of idiosyncracy and over-the-top hyperactivity, hoping our twins and reflections won't call us out. We use technology as an artificial extension to our personalities and we ourselves are a mess of bolt-on ideas and temporary mindsets, changeable and sensationalist but somehow coherent beneath it all. We know we're fucked, but every word we say denies it, and everything we do is designed to forget it. We are fake by default, making us more real than we'll ever care to admit.

As a whole, we have no torch carriers akin to those that fronted the rock and roll or punk revolutions. We have no unifying musical cause or direction, preferring sub-cultures to even the most ambitious and honest conformity, choosing fragments of culture from varied sources as opposed to adopting a single, bold mindset. But if you zoom out far enough, everything has a form; this generation is, at its core, awkward and schizophrenic, indulgent and imperfect, and beautiful. Such a mess we are that the search for a real musical spokesperson is futile, but a more abstract figurehead does already exist. Less a band that represents the youth of the new millennium and more one which reflects it, Los Campesinos! are every bit as annoying and heartbroken as the next noughties kid, because they belong to that age bracket themselves.

Oh, we kid ourselves there's future in the fucking, but there is no fucking future.

Packed with screeching guitars, glockenspiels, racing synths and male/female dual vocals, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed is a succinct, dizzying and lovable experience that takes time and some effort to fully appreciate; on first listen it appears a jumble of excitable melodies, lyrical soundbites and pretentious quirks, and while it remains to this day an excitable, quotable, pretentious jumble, it seems so much more. These twee indie-pop bursts are the home to an enormous amount of depth in both arrangement and purpose. It breaks through on the anthemic title track first, when male vocalist Gareth Campesinos! (the band adopt false surnames) screams, 'I hope my heart goes first,' amid (among others) crashing violas and cymbals, and the rest, in time, follows suit.

That's not to say We Are Beautiful is anything less than a riot. It's loud and it's fast. It changes direction so frequently and so unexpectedly that it's difficult to keep track; despite its short running time, it's unlikely you'll ever know this record inside out. The hooks, however, will stick after the first listen - infuriating, addictive and great fun, the climaxes of songs like 'Ways To Make It Through The Wall' are both euphoric and sideways-glancing, Gareth and Aleks trading words like friends enjoying in-jokes, until a crescendo of guitars and synths brings the track to a close. For all the layers to these tracks, it's rare - although by no means never the case - that the band lose themselves or over-exert. Even when 'Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1' morphs into a wall of screaming guitar lines and static in its final minute, a simple but tender picked acoustic guitar remains the focus, even when it's almost buried.

I seduced your ex-boyfriend to help you get over him; you found him more attractive, it helped you get over me.

Really, that's how We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed is best defined; it always feels at risk of becoming a total mess but is ultimately held together by its character. Some people are bound to hate that personality - there are times when this album is grating, even for fans of the band - but others are sure to see themselves in the stories and ideals these Wales-based indie-rockers hold dear. It's sugary, catchy, and won't sit still, but in the drifting electronic interludes and Gareth Campesinos!'s diary entries there's raw, gut-level emotion. Whether he's yelping couplets of self-depreciation or speaking down-tempo verses to girls, it's clear that these 10 songs possess a heart.

If you allow it to, We Are Beautiful is one of those records that will stick its foot in the door of your music library and refuse to ever really leave. At a first listen it's likely to sound like throwaway pop music, and sometimes, by accident or design, that's even what it is. It's unresolved, flawed and too self-aware for its own good, but it's also gloriously careless, heartwarming and so much goddamn fun. We're a whole lot of things but Los Campesinos! have it pretty much figured out; we are beautiful, and we are doomed. This album proves it.

I think it's fair to say that I chose hopelessness, and inflicted it on the rest of us, but at least I've come to terms with my own mortality...




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user ratings (132)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
March 9th 2010



10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

worst review ever

robin realised the staff review for this had disappeared so i took this and he'll be posting hold on now, youngster later this week

this took so long, i'm a mess at the moment, but i'm actually pretty happy with how it turned out. also, i don't care how pretentious the review is. it wrote it while i was listening to the record.

album fucking rules.

scotish
March 9th 2010



835 Comments


review has a chaotic start, but I know now what this album is about - really know - so it was pretty succesful. I'll pos. sorry bout your cousin man

Knott-
Emeritus
March 9th 2010



10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

chaotic start is good news, that was the plan. my review of their latest was just as bad/good as this is but maybe a bit less dramatic.

and, thanks. still hasnt really sunk in. appreciated, though.

plane
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2010



6092 Comments


liked this

sniper
March 9th 2010



19039 Comments


This review is really, really good. One of the better ones I've read in months tbh.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

robin
Emeritus
March 9th 2010



4247 Comments


awesome work adam. gonna do mine weds night i think. britain's one-liner band.

Knott-
Emeritus
March 9th 2010



10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks guys, really appreciated. going to bed now, it is 9.20am after all.

AggravatedYeti
March 9th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thank you for this

there's just something about you writing LC! reviews that makes me all hot and bothered inside.

honestly tho, this is some srs shit here Adam, I really do love it. Excellent job.

robin
Emeritus
March 9th 2010



4247 Comments


yeah it was a ridiculously fun read

Kyle
March 9th 2010



667 Comments


Best LC! album by some distance, in my opinion. Great break-up record.

Skimaskcheck
March 9th 2010



2360 Comments


This sounds really cool! First paragraph reminds me of the speech in Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony haha

Knott-
Emeritus
March 9th 2010



10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i definitely took some inspiration from that haha

thanks guyses

esp yeti

Skimaskcheck
March 9th 2010



2360 Comments


Hahah yeah?!

Well, you did it better, since what you said is more truthful than Maybeshewill's...
'On average we have eight hundred illegally downloaded songs...'
800 pffffft.

Good work : )

EVedder27
March 9th 2010



6088 Comments


I thought the review was awesome Adam. I'm gonna have to listen to this band since they seem interesting.

Kiran
Emeritus
March 13th 2010



6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First paragraph reminds me of the speech in Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony

i thought the exact same thing, particularly because it was a strikey hyped album

great review dude, i enjoyed it

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 22nd 2010



17204 Comments


nm i was talking out of my ass earlier. i forgot this ruled.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 6th 2011



10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so good

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2011



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

As if sensing a need for growth, the irrepressibly creative Los Campesinos! are back with another LP, just 8 months after their debut. ‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’ sees the septet mix it up; adding a darker, more depressing element to their enthusiastic indie-pop. It’s basically a break-up album as told through Gareth, who controls most of the vocals & delivers a number of witty, acerbic lyrics. Does it suit them? For the 1st 3 tracks, it seems so... But after that, it stretches them too far & plays against their strengths. Recommended Tracks: Ways to Make It Through the Wall, Miserabilia & We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed.

Steoandnoodles
April 15th 2011



2832 Comments


Hard to believe this took two weeks to record.
Totally joyous album.

wabbit
September 7th 2011



6984 Comments


...I love you/this adam



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