Los Campesinos! | Romance Is Boring

Arts & Crafts (2010)
By RYAN STEWART  |  January 19, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars


Toward the end of "In Medias Res," the first song on Los Campesinos!' third album, Gareth Campesinos (the entire Cardiff septet have adopted the surname) asks, "Is this something that would interest you?" Your answer will likely depend on how much you enjoyed the Camp's twin 2008 albums, Hold On Now, Youngster and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (Arts & Crafts), though they may have made sufficient strides to change some minds.

Romance Is Boring doesn't eschew the sugar-high, too-clever angst of its predecessors altogether, but the band have learned how to vary their song structures, often opting for a darker, more atmospheric æsthetic. When Gareth and company do shout in unison about something now, they sound cathartic — perhaps because they've learned not to overwhelm us with one yelp fest after another.

And Tom Campesinos! does a solid job of re-creating Pavement's hyper-driven woozy riffs — particularly on "This Is a Flag. There Is No Wind." Even their confrontational twentysomething angst doesn't feel as grating as it once did. And Gareth helps by laying off the first person for a change, though he still isn't as funny as he thinks he is — one-liners like "We need more post-coital and less post-rock" might better have been offered as tweets.

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