Album Review: Los Campesinos! – No Blues

Los Campesinos! released their fifth album No Blues back in October and it’s still a pretty magical record. Los Campesinos! are experts on that dynamic British garage band sound and that hasn’t changed over the years. If possible, they’ve refined that sound to a point of mastery, with No Blues being one of their strongest start-to-finish releases yet. They’ve clearly grown and polished their sound over the past five years, but No Blues somehow still has all the charm of 2008’s Hold on Now, Youngster…. It retains the compositional tightness and refinement mixed with the appealing low-fi sound the group developed with 2011’s Hello Sadness, with the No Blues single “What Death Leaves Behind” elegantly following the more mature tone we came to expect with Hello Sadness.

Los Campesinos! have always been good at relatively epic tracks, with “As Lucerne/The Low” and “Selling Ropes (Swan Dive to Estuary)” filling this role well on this album. As ever, the band has crafted stunningly visual songs with lyrics that are arresting and downright weird. They don’t just create feeling with their music, they create images and ideas. There’s an odd obsession with death and darkness on all of their albums that has been a growing presence throughout their career, and yet the tone is still refreshingly light. No Blues is no exception, and it may even be the pinnacle of all the band has been trying to achieve over the years.

 

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