Los Campesinos!
Hello Sadness


3.0
good

Review

by AggravatedYeti USER (46 Reviews)
December 1st, 2011 | 15 replies | 4,892 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And when you turn me inside out, believe in me without a doubt, the words were all of his and none of mine

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Is it not a bit unfortunate that a band whom built their artistic success on a basis of juxtaposing dainty albeit bombastic pop with raucous albeit still humanized punk rock fail at simply sounding comfortable? That amidst all their talent, specifically that of singer/lyricist Gareth Campesinos! for turning some incredibly awkward moments into broken-hearted anthems–taking their sadness by the reigns--they falter without that essential crux. The Drama, with a capitol “D,” as up until Hello Sadness that was the only brand they trafficked in, has taken a bit of a back seat to the pop-savvy and tightened song-structure. And while Hello Sadness is in no way a bad record, it is actually damn good, there is a fundamental gut-punch missing from The Campesinos! performance on record even as Gareth foams at the mouth with exceptional turns of phrase (“I’ve been digging my grave/For quite some time/When I’m not digging up the past!”) and his cohorts surround him in tidal waves of rattling toms, screeching guitars and glockenspiel. These however do little to drown out the sneaking suspicion you have heard this all before and much more provocatively.

Again, maybe we got off to a bad start you and I. Maybe Hello Sadness is not to be approached in the same open-armed manner as their first few exceptional recordings. On paper the record is streamlined and superbly edited playing into a critique the band had no concept of red tape or a use for B-Sides and promptly proving the doubts incorrect. Sadly what is exposed is LC!’s glaring weakness that recently departed co-vocalist Aleksandra Campesinos! is replaced adequately at best by Garreth’s younger sister Kim. More importantly though is how exciting this band is when Garreth is the middle of a squalling tempest of emotion while acting bat-*** crazy and how merely interesting they are when he simply makes great pop music. In the grand scheme of the Campesino!’s first few recordings, whether they intended it or not, Gareth played second fiddle to Aleks. Her voice the more traditional, more appealing, prettier in both vocal and physical regards she was the face of LC! Or so one would be lead to believe at first.

Part of what made this band so great is how skilled Gareth was at subtly grabbing all of your attention in otherwise not-so-subtle ways. On Hello Sadness he seems to be making the rounds: a song about prissy boyfriends (“Songs About Your Girlfriend”) equating love to how awful England’s national football team has treated him (“Every Defeat A Divorce (Three Lions)”), and even the requisite song about him being destroyed piece by piece coupled with his out lash at the G-Man (“The Black Bird, The Dark Slope.”) And while if crafted by any other artist these songs could contain a level of gravitas to their honesty that would keep listeners salivating for more. At the feet of Los Campesinos! it is all common-place. Because of this though it is easier to move past Gareth’s diary-page expulsions via shimmering twee-punk and appreciate the fact that instrumentally this band has only grown more talented. It is just unfortunate that Gareth seems to still be searching for an identity the rest of us figured he hammered out with Romance Is Boring (2010).

Take for example the excellent “Baby I’ve Got The Death Rattle:” packed full of lightning riffs, crashing drums and excellent, eloquent quips yet something seems amiss. “And I chewed my only necktie/From the metal frame of my bed/Where I tied your wrists together/Spent all night givin’/(Oh, you get the message!)” Gareth relays and while on record the instance is classically playful Campesinos! part of me cannot help but feel like eight months ago he would be screaming “head!” until his throat was red and bare as opposed to attempting a tongue-in-cheek side step. This band used to revel in awkwardness, unearth redemption in it like few others could. Hello Sadness is an apt album title as it feels like for the first time The Campesinos! have finally come face to face with true despondency: unquestionable boredom. The trick is to make the listener believe no matter how lackadaisical you sound nothing matters more than your music. Gareth and company still fill those shoes better than nearly anyone else it is just you figure after a few records, international fandom and country-spanning tours they would at least buy a new pair of Chucks.



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user ratings (127)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Wombat988 (4.5)
Wake up world....

iluvtweepop (4.5)
when light leaves, dark sees...


Comments:Add a Comment 
AggravatedYeti
December 1st 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

originally posted hurrrr: http://www.thealtreview.net/2011/11/15/los-campesinos-hello-sadness/

but I felt like we needed to discuss this album y'all.

conradtao
Emeritus
December 1st 2011



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"Baby I’ve Got The Death Rattle" is my least favorite song here. Good review, Dylan.

Personally, I love this album for its unabashed sentimentality.

AggravatedYeti
December 1st 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Personally, I love this album for its unabashed sentimentality.


I'd be more apt to agree if it did not feel so manufactured.

Title track, By Your Hand, Black Bird/Dark Slope, Body to Tundra and Death Rattle are kewl but I could throw the rest of the album away and enjoy that mini EP as I anticipate their next record.

iluvtweepop
December 1st 2011



463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

LOVE IT!

To Tundra's my fav song by them atm

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011



7322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really want to like this but I just don't think this style suits them at all. By Your Hand and the title track are ace but the rest of this is pretty underwhelming i think. Good review, pos'd.

Wombat988
December 1st 2011



388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Meh, I think I'd love Los Campesinos! if they did a cover of Pulse Demon by merzbow, but good review anyway. Loving the recommendations

AggravatedYeti
December 2nd 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

it's worth a look chambered.

conradtao
Emeritus
March 3rd 2012



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Listening to this for the first time since mid-November. Not sure how that happened, but every emotion I've associated with this record is surging back with aplomb..

..so yeah. 4.5. Without a doubt.

Wombat988
April 24th 2012



388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I always forget Life is a long time is on here, so my opinion keeps changing between a 4 and a 4.5

AggravatedYeti
April 24th 2012



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

still never really got into this save a few tracks
supremely disappointing that fact : (

Douglas
December 9th 2012



9093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

#ilythisreview

Digging: James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical

NationalMidnightStar
December 10th 2012



176 Comments


more boonecore

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
March 16th 2013



12851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

best lc

Digging: Dinosaur Jr. - J Mascis Live at CBGB's

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2013



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Mirroring 2nd LP 'We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed', Los Campesinos! return to the depressing break-up album with tellingly titled 4th LP 'Hello Sadness'. More focused than any prior release, this John Goodmanson produced record is refined & restrained to a fault, almost entirely foregoing the haphazard energy & twee attributes of the past. A more mature effort that takes time getting used to, the mellower 2nd half will especially polarize. Not entirely convincing in isolation as the band are still growing into their sound, this transition LP should bode well for the future. Recommended Tracks: By Your Hand, Songs About Your Girlfriend & The Black Bird The Dark Slope.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
June 19th 2014



12851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ugh



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