Review Summary: A must for fans, a maybe to everyone else.
Following the phenomenally well-received debut album (Hold On Now, Youngster) and the equally enjoyable Extended E.P. (We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed) expectations were always going to be high for Los Campesinos official second album "Romance Is Boring."
Immediately, Los Campesinos come across as a changed band - jumping into their opening song "In Medias Rias". It seems as though they have abandoned their twee indie pop roots and substituted them with darker, brooding indie rock. Is this a good thing? It would be unfair to judge the album as a whole just by the opening track. The slightly unnerving start is followed up by what Los Campesinos do best - glockenspiel-driven indie-pop. The delightful "Ba-Bas" keep the smiles coming, surely making "There Are Listed Buildings" the perfect summer anthem. The momentum continues throughout the title track, the entertaining "Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2" ("I've learnt more from toilet walls, than I've learnt from these words of yours!) and the abrasive "Plan A".
However, "Romance Is Boring" seamlessly goes off the rails for the next five songs or so. The witty humorous lyrics exhibited in earlier songs, such as the brilliant lyrical hook in "There Are Listed Buildings" - "I remember being naked to my waist... but not in which direction", are swapped for truly bizarre, and often vulgar lyrics. One track in particular "Who Fell Asleep In" oversteps the mark by exploring a passionate relationship with a nun. The lyric "We turned our backs on the church, with our trousers around our knees" prominently stayed in my mind for all the wrong reasons!
After what seems like an eternity, the eleventh song, "I Just Sighed, I Just Sighed, Just So You Know" sends the rollercoaster-ride of an album back on track with catchy ostinatos and vibrant instrumentation. The album finally peaks with the daunting crescendo of "The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future", which documents the events encountered by a suicidal girl.
The lyrics on this album are truly sublime to say the least, and are really the album's saving grace. However, the poor middle section of the album disappoints massively. To slate this album would be rather unfair really and that is why O a, giving the album 3 stars. Undoubtedly, whatever path Los Campesinos choose next will be exciting, and one thing will be guaranteed fantastic lyrics.
By Robin Joynson