Los Campesinos!|No Blues
29 October 2013
By Meghan Kearney
The Cardiff sextet recently released their fifth full-length No Blues and as time goes on, the new record appears to be one of, if not their best record to date.
The opening track “For Flotsam” is full of “she said” conversational moments. Between their usual football metaphors – goal posts, goal keepers and knocking knees, No Blues picks right up where Hello Sadness left off. Right from the start, lyrics are comfortably honest, one of the most consistently enjoyable things about Los Campesinos. “She says if you’re unhappy then you gotta find a cure. I prescribe me one more beer, beyond that I am unsure.”
“A Portrate of The Trequartista As A Young Man” starts like a sweet-sounding lullaby before breaking into the ever-familiar Los Campesinos! gang vocals and slamming instruments. “Cemetery Gaits” is backed by a catchy electric loop while lead singer, Gareth’s, vocals are as wonderful as ever. His vocals can be described as a string of sentences that each sound like a last gasping breath; the sound of fatal desperation in a line-by-line loop. And there is something remarkably addicting about this.
Two distinct things stand out in No Blues. First, this record sounds more daringly playful than their past albums, but at its heart remains flooded with dark topics. The track “Avocado, Baby” on first listen might almost be perceived as parody. With choirs of yelling children dominating the end verses, the lyrics “that’s why they call me the avocado, baby!” are full of Moz-like rock star sass that might induce blushing cheeks. Second standout item: the album’s lyrics are unstoppable. So much so that they almost call for a top five favorite No Blues lyrics challenge.
Previous albums have been spot on with tongue twisting, alliterative wording, but No Blues hits it so far out of the park. Speaking again to the trickery of “Avocado, Baby!” The lyrics are not about cheeky nicknames or vegetables, but rather more metaphorical genius. “My heart of stone, rind so tough it’s crazy” gives explanation to why one might be called such a strange slander.
Is this Los Campesinos!’s best record yet? Only time and twenty-to-fifty more play-throughs will tell. What is for sure, is that no Los Campesinos! fan will be even slightly unhappy with this record, and all new fans will feel as though they’ve joined right at the perfect moment.
P.S. Ya know what? Let’s do this. Top five favorite No Blues lines, GO:
5 “A widow sobs, more widows weep, while we intrude like a widow’s peak”
4 “We all know we’re gonna die. We’re a speck of dust in a bad God’s eye. He rubs us clean, but love is blind. A balloon artist kisses porcupine”
3 “I’ll be gloomy until they glue me in the arms of she who loves me”
2 “Oh it won’t get better, that doesn’t mean it’s gonna get any worse. Your final draft a life-long love letter, signed to the man who will be driving your hearse”
1 “She says if you’re unhappy then you gotta find a cure. I prescribe me one more beer, beyond that I am unsure.”