Review | All's Well That Ends

I didn't get Los Campesinos! at first. When they were making a mark around 2008, all I heard were catchy pop punk riffs, pretty violin tunes to contrast the brashness of it all, and a lot of excited incoherent shouting that would probably have made a fun concert. "Hold on Now, Youngster," their first full album, was in and out of my brainosphere within a month.

One thing did bother me, though. I don't know if this is a convention of the twee genre or what, but they wrote with such an honest, pedestrian perspective that eschewed any higher meaning or higher culture, and I wasn't sure I liked that. What I mean is, their lyrics would make reference to scenesters, drunk dialing, LiveJournal as an emotional outlet, and all these very normal things that bands usually aim above. It's a weird thing to articulate now that I try to. I just know that it felt like they embraced hipsterish irony and snarling youth culture wholeheartedly, and that turned me off.

I was so used to my songwriters being like Will Sheff of Okkervil River, who crafts literary allusions and writes anthems about obscure pop figures, or Sufjan Stevens, who hates television and has to research civic history before making an album. They were above even thinking about LiveJournal, let alone mentioning it into a song's emotional climax. I could probably never sit down and have a normal conversation with Sheff and Stevens because they worked at a higher frequency, but that was okay, the music was heavy and important. Los Campesinos! wrote about being afraid to dance at concerts. How could they be a credible band if they sing about shit I know, from perspectives so pedestrian they're actually rare?

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