A horrible hack

Los Campesinos

Hold On Now, Youngster...

Year Released: 2008
Format: CD
Label: wichita
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Feb 24, 2008
I was pretty wary of this album but man, I have to admit that musically it is a whole lot of fun! A bunch of kids based in Wales making a big indie rocking racket, swamped in energy, boy+girl vocals, a bit of keyboard, and Yankee influences out the wazoo. Each song is kind of similar, with a catchy beat and a bit of shouting now and again. It is a touch repetetive, but I am not the worlds biggest opponent of repetition. Repetition isn't a bad thing. I think repetition is OK to be honest.

Anyways, just running through a few of the songs on here... I think the end of Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats sounds exactly like a bit from a Jejune song, which is quite odd. Often they sound like Sheryl's Magnetic Aura, but that is unlikely to be the intention. The girl vocals are great, drifty at times, stronger at others. Certainly the highlight on this record. The guy who shouts a bit in his bludgeoning English accent is a tiny bit annoying, like an overly self-aware student. I guess that is the biggest problem with this music, it does feel a bit too self-knowing, rather than free wheeling and innocent as it might have done if it was under-produced and came out on a 7" limited to 150 that came with a zine, rather than on a label with lots of money. Now, that might be a bit harsh of me to bring that up as the band might just be a happy mistake. The cynic in me suggests otherwise. British indie bands have a habit of this kind of thing, it's a product of our shitty university system - not enough learning, too much time to burn getting wasted with your mates and becoming self-obsessed, perfecting an image that you think will impress that boy / girl who accidentally caught your eye across the floor of the indie disco last Tuesday. And you can tell from the song titles, such as "Knee Deep at ATP" which name checks K records. STOP TRYING SO HARD GUYZ! Sometimes when it gets shouty it starts sounding like Defiance, Ohio or some other happy clappy band, which I also found odd. And to get back to that accent as it bugs me more as the record goes a long, what is it with this trend for accenting so bluntly lately? What a load of bollocks.

This is a really solid, enjoyable album, rammed with good indie pop music, but I can't quite get past the fact that they wear the desire for indie credibility so openly on their lyrics. This album is recommended if you like underground indie zines that people actually read, or if you like the idea of an English Sheryl's Magnetic Aura crossed with Defiance, Ohio, although not influenced those bands at all, and just as cringe-worthy as the latter, but for different reasons.

Leaving all the cynicism aside, one line of a song proclaims "We're ignorant, we're stupid, but we're happy" (unless my dodgy hearing lets me down), and at that point I have to conclude that I am washed up old bastard and the kids are getting on with it. Fair play.

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