Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring
Open the incinerator: first in goes the baggy cardigan, closely followed by selected poems of Lord Byron. Pull on your leather jacket and start back-combing your hair. Los Campesinos! have gone all rock and roll. Discard all that is twee. Stop making eyes at the wallflowers and make a bee-line for the mosh-pit.
This is a band that seems more pissed off than during our last encounter. Whereas once they’d pass notes or make snide comments under their breath, Los Camp v2.0 are definitely more in your face, telling it like it is. Romance is clearly boring; there’s no need for subtlety or innuendo with lyrics like “I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock / Feels like the build up takes forever but you never touch my cock” on ‘Straight In At 101’. It leaves you in no doubt where the problem lies, there is no beating around the figurative or literal bush.
Behind this rock and roll exterior is a seriously solid album. They’ve still got the tunes but it’s like the speccy kid has come back from the summer holidays after discovering weight lifting and contact lenses. He wants revenge for all the humiliation on the sports field. And everyone is on the hit list.
There are some real dazzlers: ‘I Warned You: Do Not Make An Enemy Of Me’ is fantastic, kicking you in the shins whilst simultaneously flushing your head down the toilet. Title track ‘Romance Is Boring’ takes no prisoners either. Gareth demands your attention - grabbing you by the collar and ensuring you’ve understood everything. He doesn’t need it, but he’s got the rest of the band to back him up as they sing in unison. This is a gang you wouldn’t want to meet in an alley. In 2008 they might have offered you a daisy chain, in 2010 you’ll be lucky to escape with escape with your Pic n' Mix intact.
'Plan A’ sounds like a recorded emergency call played back on Crimewatch. “And this was the last time anyone heard from Maureen before her mutilated body was found in the Waitrose car park”. It’s hectic stuff, but it’s only two minutes long - any more would encourage gesturing for the ventolin. With every listen the order of favourite tracks shifts and twists. 'The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future' works its way slowly to the top of chart then crashes through the ceiling and into your subconscious. It's hauntingly beautiful with lyrics painting a heartbreaking picture and quite possibly the best thing they've ever done.
Whilst there is a longing for the Los Campesinos! of old (especially after they’ve tied your shoe-laces together for the fifth time), it is pleasing to see them moving and growing. Cranking the distortion up and yelling suits them, especially when it’s done this well. Just remember it’s the band you’ve always known, just on supplements! But, if you’ve ever kicked sand in their face I’d suggest watching your back from now on. They've made the best record of their career and they know where you live!