Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster

The album is filled with lyrics which are a cut above the norm, managing to be charming without ever sounding pretentious.

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Released 26 Feb 2008 | Wichita | By John McCarthy | Rating: 4
Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster

Pop is all about ideas and many pop people have based their entire careers on one decent idea. Pete Doherty was able to transform himself from being Queens Park Rangers' least healthy looking fanzine writer to the tabloid's favourite supermodel shagging indie boy by answering the question, 'what would it have sounded like if Chas and Dave had been really into Class A drugs?' More recently bands such as Hard-Fi, The Twang and The Enemy have all found fame and fortune by writing a load of lumpy songs about the fact that cities in England are a bit cold and miserable sometimes.

Therefore it's always a pleasant surprise to stumble across a band who make a bit of an effort. A band with a plethora of ideas and a big bag of witty lyrics. A band who write charming and intelligent tunes. Los Campesinos! are such a band and their debut album is a feast of catchy pop music.

Opening track and former single 'Death To Los Campesinos!' sounds like a teenage riot, combining Go! Team-esque levels of energy, glockenspiels, trumpets and duelling male vs. female vocals to create a gorgeous high-energy song. It sets the template for the rest of the album - throbbing indie pop tunes played with infectious enthusiasm. Continuing the theme, 'Knee Deep At ATP' uses scuzzy guitars to soundtrack a tale of adolescent love and loss at Camber Sands and 'My Year In Lists' is a sub-two minute blast of rowdy, shout-along loveliness.

The album is filled with lyrics which are a cut above the norm as well, managing to be charming without ever sounding pretentious: "You should have built have a statue, so I did of you/and you were ungrateful and slightly offended at the dimensions of the thing" moans lead singer Gareth Campesinos! on 'We Are All Accelerated Readers'. He then goes on to admit that "I'm not Bonnie Tyler, and I'm not Toni Braxton, and this song is not gonna save your relationship".

Broken Social Scene knob twiddler David Newfeld brings some order to the multi-instrumental chaos, applying just the right amount of polish to the band's sound without losing any of their zest and character of their early singles. On the downside the album suffers slightly from a lack of variety - a couple more slower tunes would have added some light and shade and 'This is How You Spell "Haha ha, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of A Generation of Faux – Romantics"' is surely a smug song title too far. These are minor quibbles though.

"Four sweaty boys with guitars tell me nothing about my life" proclaim the Campesinos! on '...And We Exhale And Roll Our Eyes In Unison'. If this is true for you then seven sweet smelling, exclamation mark loving ex-students from Wales will make your winter of 2008 infinitely more exciting.