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Los Campesinos! gets cute with melancholy ‘Hello Sadness’

Wales-based indie pop outfit Los Campesinos! come this week with a cute, enticing effort, “Hello Sadness.” Given the band’s character for the melodically happier side of things, this title may seem inconsistent but it proves to be appropriate.

“Cute” is not a demeaning descriptor. “Hello Sadness” wasn’t made in the essence of other pop-rock ordeals, which would be explained by no other term other than cute, except maybe artificial (remember “Hey There Delilah,” by the Plain White T’s?). Los Campesinos!, even though its sound is extremely approachable, it is by no means inauthentic. Its songs are simple in theme, but it has a knack for making some distinctive tunes, nuanced by differing instrumentation.

“By Your Hand” and “Songs About Your Girlfriend” bang out the album’s beginning, and are as luring as “Bang Pop” by fellow indie-poppers, Free Energy. They are catchy, doomed-to-be-singles. “By Your Hand” is the sing-along of the record; the concert opener.

“Songs About Your Girlfriend” is rougher on the edges and a tad upsetting for the dumped. It’s evil in the same manner of Lustra’s “Scotty Doesn’t Know.”

By the title track, “Hello Sadness” takes a maneuvers toward the melancholy. “Hello Sadness” is as captivating as its poppier predecessors, although it differs greatly in its emotion. It’s much more reflective; lead singer Gareth Campesinos! (each band member takes on “Campesinos!” as their last name) leads a poetic chant about the endless flow of hope that excretes from his heart. Cute.

The rest of the record keeps up the sad front in a less memorable manner compared to “Hello Sadness.” “Every Defeat A Divorce (Three Lions)” has the broken prechorus of classic Taking Back Sunday or Brand New back when those bands were cool. As such, “Every Defeat” stands as a contemplative song of self-criticism. “The Black Bird, The Dark Slope” takes its lead, repetitious pop-punk guitar solo included.

Los Campesinos!, among the many six-plus-piece indie-pop groups that are coming out nowadays, stand as a seemingly cheerful bunch (see: I’m From Barcelona). This clearly isn’t completely the case, as it has developed a weeping record. Nonetheless, it still exhibits its bouncy sensibility and simplicity.


Grade: B

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