Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Arts & Crafts, 2008
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2008
Though they claim this is an EP (or whatever) I see it as their second album. Maybe not their second proper album, but second album nonetheless given that it has the appropriate number of songs (10) and appropriate length (over 30 minutes). However, according to a very nervous interview I conducted with Gareth Campesinos while working at KJ I'd found that they went in expecting to record an EP, but kept coming up with more songs, and though it's album length they still think of it as an EP. But really, it's a record, and it's really, really, really fucking good and I think it's the best thing they've done to date. It was my favorite record of 2008. Where Hold On Now, Youngster... was very produced and organized, We Are Beautiful feels raw and off the cuff. Like the gestation period of the songs is two weeks to two days to two minutes, and thus more is conveyed and more is gleaned from listening to them. In my head, this is what makes really great music (but I'm partial to that stuff). “It's Never That Easy Though, Is It?” pretty much sums up why I love this record. It was the one song I was looking for to completely encapsulate that year, and in particular, the summer which was when everything went disastrously wrong. At the same time, I also got “Ways to Make it Through the Wall,” “Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1,” the Parenthetical Girls checking “Heart Swells/Pacific Daylight Time,” “Miserabilia,” and the excellent title track. Basically the whole thing. It's not that they cut out the joy here, they're very ebullient, it's just that overall this seems to be a record about getting stomped on and, hopefully, being able to tell the people stomping on you to get the fuck off (possibly in a drunken, inappropriate way). But some things are best left unsaid. Regardless, I've moved on and this record is still fucking excellent. I want to know how it will play in ten years though, because it seems very much tied to the end of this decade. I don't doubt that it has staying power, and it's not like it's going to go out of style, it's just that maybe it will seem dated. But in the way Husker Du seems dated, which is basically just a record getting tied to the time and place it was created yet still being just as good as it always was. A time from which we recall certain memories upon listening to the record, whether they be good or just plain miserable. If anything, all the depressing shit that happens between tracks 2 and 8 is overtaken by the kiss-off bliss of “All Your Kayfabe Friends,” and if it's one thing that really wins my heart, it's pro-wrestling references in indie-pop. This record saved my life in 2008.
Now peep a video for a song from their forthcoming as-of-yet-untitled new record (odds are it will be titled next week, given that I'm just now posting this video). It's proof that LC! are staying legit in 09/10!