Back with their 5th album and down a few band members, Los Campesinos! have delivered the best album of their careers so far. More contained and less self-consciously hyperactive than their debut Hold On Now, Youngster, and less mopey than their previous album, 2011’s Hello Sadness, No Blues sees LC! settling into a more consistent, individual sound. It’s all the best aspects of the Welsh 6-piece’s previous albums combined – a real coming-of-age record, just not too aged.
No Blues is lyrically astute, with singer Gareth Paisey delivering elaborate quip after pretentious elaborate quip. He really wants people to appreciate his admittedly impressive vocabulary, packing his songs full of words so dauntingly polysyllabic that it would probably be best to listen to this record with a good dictionary to hand – he was obviously never far from a thesaurus when he wrote it. In ‘What Death Leaves Behind’ he refers to himself as a portmanteau and his relationship as a tautology within the first 20 seconds. Behind the lexical peacocking though there is plenty of Los Campesinos!’ characteristic misery. ‘As Lucerne/The Low’ shows Paisey straight up wailing his anguish and ‘Cemetery Gaits’, somewhat appropriately, contains levels of sorrow approaching those of Morrissey.
It’s not a total gloom-fest though. Almost every song has a huge, uplifting chorus to ease you away from total despair and the catchy, billowing melodies cement No Blues as a brilliant pop record. It’s filled with giddy electronics and frantic drums and guitar, and anthems like ‘Avocado Baby’ seem set to become firm favourites with their already adoring and rapidly expanding fan base. Although the title seems to be a brazen contradiction to the contents of the album, it is in fact lifted from the lyric “There is no blues that could sound as heartfelt as mine.” This tongue in cheek twisting of meaning nicely sums up No Blues as an album, and indeed Los Campesinos! as a band – witty, mischievous, and above all profound.
Released on 28 October 2013 via Turnstile Music