The exclamation mark alone gives you a pretty good idea of the sort of relentless cheeriness the seven members of Los Campesinos! peddle. In these dour days of overly serious, achingly cool scenesters it’s refreshing to hear such unashamedly joyful and unbridled music.Superficially they share a similar sound to the likes of Architecture in Helsinki, but it runs deeper than that. Previous single ‘International Tweexcore Underground’ (sadly lacking from this LP) reads like a journalist’s easy-to-read guide to Los Campesinos!’s influences – Amelia Fletcher by way of Henry Rollins – although admittedly they do lean to the twee side of that silent ‘x’.Songs mostly stick to the same propulsive, incessantly lively template, and yet somehow the band manages to keep the majority of the album from sounding tired and repetitive. Opener ‘Death to Los Campesinos!’ is a definite sign of intent for what’s to come. Guitars on the softer side of squally, twinkling xylophone, rapid percussion matched by equally rapid vocal interchanges between Gareth and Aleks Campesinos! (yes they really write their names like that). ‘Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks’, ‘We Are All Accelerated Readers’ and the word-count challenging ‘This Is How You Spell, “HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics”’ are all brilliantly crafted, insanely memorable, unabashed pop tunes. And not to mention the careening behemoth ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ which is easily one of the best songs of the last five years.
There are so many reasons why it shouldn’t work. The lyrics veer from brilliant to slightly cringeworthy to pretentious and back to brilliant, Gareth’s voice is quite erratic and sure to prove divisive, it’s not wholly original and it is really really upbeat, but fuck it; it’s just too bloody enjoyable and catchy and witty and downright irrepressible. I love it.
– By Harry Thompson