We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
The opening ‘Ways To Make It Through The Wall’, then, commences with Gareth announcing, “I think it’s fair to say that I chose hopelessness/And inflicted it on the rest of us” with a curdled mix of obnoxiousness and righteousness. That’s as cheerful as he gets all album; as it happens, a nastier, crankier Los Campesinos! actually turns out to be quite a lot of fun. Come the third song, the title track, he’s already vomited in a Mexican restaurant, vomited by a football pitch, promised to break someone’s teeth, wished to die by heart attack and collapsed in tears into an ex-girlfriend’s naked breasts. With it, too, the music has hardened. Guitars, violin and glockenspiel are strummed, sawed and struck with such energy and vitality they sound like weapons. Anthems are built out of anger, spiked with sharpened crescendos. But every time Gareth’s self-loathing threatens to tip out of control, LC! co-vocalist Aleks Campesinos! breezes in with a line to defuse things, cooing, “He’s gonna get drunk and call you at four in the morning” like a reproachful angel sat on his shoulder. There are moments of comfort, too: stolen kisses on the dazed hoedown ‘Heart Swells/Pacific Daylight Time’; the sweet, balmy violin pop of ‘You’ll Need Those Fingers For Crossing’. But mostly, these songs are barbed and bitter because that’s the way love can be. And ‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’ is like Cupid gave it up and turned the bow and arrow on himself.
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