Since their debut in 2008, Welsh indie pop band Los Campesinos! have consistently stuck with a feverishly cute punk rock style – think the Ramones by way of Belle and Sebastian. Their newest release, Sick Scenes relies heavily on the formula of fast paced guitar, lead singer Gareth David’s semi-yelling, and terribly prosaic lyrics sung over and over again that has worked for them all these years.
Los Campesinos!’s Sick Scenes opens with the catchy but obnoxiously named Renato Dall’Ara (2008).
The opening track, like many on the album could easily slip into a hipster dance party playlist on Spotify. Fuzzy drums, oohs and ahhs, and melody that you can’t quite sing along with but will nonetheless have you tapping your feet anyway.
From there Sick Scenes continues with much of the same, and while it feels like the band is attempting to make up for lost time the album tends to stagnate somewhere in the middle. After a while every song ends up feeling so similar that once the album finished and started over it took a few songs in for me to even realize it.
Notable exceptions are “A Slow, Slow Death” which feels so 90’s-inspired I thought a Smashing Pumpkins track had snuck into my copy of the album, and the slow acoustic single The Fall of Home. The rest of the album simply blends into one long feedback loop of indie pop rock.
My overall impression of the album is Los Campesinos! is attempting to start where they left off, and while it’s exciting to see the band start making music again it’s a little disappointing that there hasn’t been much growth musically. I say pull out your PBR, fake glasses, and put this record on in the background of your next ultra-hip get together while pretending it’s 2010.