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Romance Is Anything But Boring

Courtney Cox | Monday, February 8, 2010

Like all great epics, the third Los Campesinos! album, “Romance is Boring,” begins with “In Medias Res.” The choice of title accurately reflects the turn that the band has taken in its follow up to 2008’s “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.”
The quintessentially British band is well-known for their upbeat refrains and cheery melodies, yet the sound of this new album is much more mature than anything Los Campesinos! has done before, yet it retains that unwavering enthusiasm that made the group popular in the first place.
The opening track asks the question, “If you were given the option of dying painlessly in peace at 45 but with a lover at your side after a full and happy life, is this something that would interest you?” While this may not in fact interest you, the rest of the album is sure to hold the attention of listeners, both devoted fans as well as new recruits to the Los Campesinos! camp.
The title track, “Romance is Boring,” fits well considering the rapidly approaching day dedicated to romance alone. It may serve as a much-needed wake up call for the couples who have been disgusting the rest of the campus by publicly displaying their affection in front of the fro-yo machine. “Romance is Boring” is a song that can easily be sung by even the worst of tune carriers which is a perfect example of the group’s mission.
Songs from previous Los Campesinos! albums are mostly songs that are best screamed in a car full of good friends. It is refreshing to hear some of that old excitement brought into this new album.
The song immediately following “Romance is Boring,” “We’ve Got Your Back” does a good job of showcasing the general theme of the entire album. Part of the song is toned down, in the best way possible, while the other half is full of upbeat exclamations from the entire band.
Despite the fact that Aleks Campesinos! (Campesinos! of course being the band’s collective surname) left the band to continue her studies, her vocals remain on this album, most notably so in “We’ve Got Your Back.” It’s curious that her part in the song is the more demure of the two, because it seems that the band will be sticking with the toned down image despite her being gone. The best part of the entire song, and the part that will remind listeners most of the earlier work of the band, is the collective scream of, “If your hero told you to go huff a sharpie what would you do? I do not know!” The lyrics are certainly absurd, but the enthusiasm behind them is beyond comparison.
Some of the songs seem to have a completely different feel from the Los Campesinos! that came roaring out of the gate two years ago. “200-102” and “Heart Swells/100-1” are the most notable. They clearly do not fit into the mold that Los Campesinos! created for themselves. They appeared to be so full of energy that they needed to add an “!” at the end of their name because otherwise the idea simply didn’t translate. On those two tracks, however, there is folksier guitar and eerie whispering than a Los Campesinos! fan may be able to handle.
“The Sea is A Good Place to Think of the Future” comes near the end of the album and is yet another sign of the band’s maturation. The lyrics seem so honest and deep, it even seems as though they were ripped straight from someone’s diary. The song itself is great, but the music video is even better. The simplicity of a group of cool people just sitting on the beach is perfect. It would make anyone want to run off to the nearest beach and just sit around for a while.
Romance is Boring marks a shift in gears for Los Campesinos! There is almost a tug of war going on between staying young and growing up. This album shows both sides extremely well. It gives fans more of what they loved from previous albums while giving them a taste of what the future may be like for the group.
It also happens to be the perfect album for anyone who recently discovered that they would be spending quite some time in Britain. Word of advice: save the hours you would have spent rereading Harry Potter and just listen to Los Campesinos! instead.