Los Campesinos! – Hello Sadness

And to start this review, plus the fact of being a native speaker of Spanish, I was quite shocked when I listened to the band’s name. I remember that was in 2009. I remember also that I was quite shocked by these tunes, as they really have imprinted their country and place of origin (Cardiff, UK) in each and every note they play. It is folk combined with a contemporaneous spirit, always innovating and looking for new sounds.

This mix, in turn, provides a certain degree of innocence and merry notes, which eventually will put a smile upon your face (if you feel blue). Irony is the word that intrigues me the most lately, and this band gives a practical meaning to it by writing somewhat sarcastic lyrics and feel like embedded to their tunes; their new album could not be the exception with a name like the one chosen (released in December 8, 2011): Hello Sadness. That was a direct slap to my face.

This album comprises innovation moving forward to a pop style, still containing interesting mixes of folk riffs and rhythms, creating images of that place miles away from here; the foreign eye would understand this as the air and styles from the other side of the world.

This is a soundtrack of the life and times of a mood, and in this specific case we are talking about sadness. It is true feelings are experienced differently from person to person and I must say that his new vision of blue is rather interesting, as it is the exact moment after a bad, terrible or traumatic event is in progress and all we do is smile (and not being sure that a smile is the best thing we can have under that context).

The mixed feelings become the juxtaposition of elements and sudden drop in tones, giving a good use to common elements of pop music and yet obscuring the merry element.

Even though this is filled with standard structures, there is a considerable number of ‘surprise’ or ‘wow’ elements, as in track called ‘To Tundra’; it is a quiet line with junctions and capricious shapes, like variations in a ray of light. Lyrics are… let’s say they just are (sad).

I have always found the voices of this band as a little theatrical in the most pure sense/primary sense, but not to say that it is overacted, but rather near to the primitive and expressive part of us that we have forgotten, as we all wear different masks to hide the ‘real me’ element. A good example for this is ‘Baby I got the Death Rattle’, track nine: there is a display of two voices, incidental dissonance like broken thoughts. Modulation in this one is the key to convey the message, as I perceived a type of soliloquy, those we know well when it comes to decision-making. The song includes two structures, where the second one is clearly the denouement of this mental exercise.

Every track includes twists in sound effects since its very introduction. ‘Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions)’ is a good proof for this: it starts a deep sound that suddenly becomes violins, then guitar, guitar bass and drums. Vocals follow the same guideline as in track nine (multi-chorus), giving a key element to reinforce my thought that this is an introspective album.

As for the ‘introspection’ hypothesis, the sound effects and vocal duties deliver that doubt, inviting to revisit the facts and question all of our perceptions on the same issue. And yes, I believe this is a way to experience sadness. The path this album follows to unfold its heart is a very honest expression.

A known path changed by the natural and manufactured diversion that talks about broken hearts, doubt, and longing. This is the smile upon someone’s face, the one that receives the bad news. This is the moment when you freeze and your brain denies to follow any logic leading to understanding, it is just when you fall apart without even noticing you are broken into pieces already, yet you know the escape to this is sarcasm and honesty. Feeling available on stores now.

Words:  No one.

Los Campesinos! Website. Facebook. Twitter. Soundcloud.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s