Los Campesinos!, Hello Sadness

Laura Leebove

By Laura Leebove

Managing Editor
on 11.15.11 in Reviews
Making heartbreak and awkward romantic encounters sound far from sad

The name of Los Campesinos!’s new album, Hello Sadness, comes from a line in its title track: Frontman Gareth (all the bandmembers have adopted the surname Campesinos!) sings, “Goodbye, courage/ Hello, sadness, again,” which kicks off a raucous party of Arcade Fire-level bombast, with a searing violin intertwined with a guitar solo over “ooh oooohs.” In that song’s chorus they all sing, “This dripping from my broken heart is never running dry.” It’s a perfect example of what this group from Cardiff, Wales, does best: pair self-deprecating verses over chaotic explosions of guitars, horns, strings and glockenspiel. Their songs are accounts of lust, heartbreak and awkward romantic encounters, and Sadness — the group’s first effort in almost two years — is on par with their best work. The chorus of “Life is a Long Time” laments, “You know it starts pretty rough and ends up even worse.” But it’s hard to imagine things getting worse when the album begins with Gareth hooking up with a girl who vomits on his rental tux before they make it back to her house (“By Your Hand”). Few bands could make such an incident sound so far from sad.