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We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

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Album Review

Anyone expecting a sophomore slump or a drop-off in quality due to the nature of its somewhat sudden appearance (who makes two albums a year anymore?) will find themselves sorely disappointed by Los Campesinos! second album, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed. Or maybe that should read happily surprised since the group delivers another exciting record with enough feverish energy to power a mid-size metropolitan area for a week. This is an entirely different kind of album, though, much of the joy and fun the band dished out previously like free samples at a supermarket has been drained away and replaced with anger, unease, and miserabilia. As such We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed isn't the immediate jolt to the nervous system that the debut was; the production (done by John Goodmanson in Seattle) is a little flatter, there aren't any instant jams like "Death to Los Campesinos," "You Me Dancing," or "My Year in Lists" here, and there is less give and take sass between vocalists Alex and Gareth. In fact, there is less of Alex overall, as We Are is really Gareth's album both vocally and lyrically. His voice has always been a nasal, slightly unhinged instrument but here he threatens to go off the rails as he sings of sexual frustration, bitter breakups, vomit, violence, and overall queasiness and desperation. One of the key lines he spits out during the title track "We kid ourselves that there's future in the f*****g/But there is no f*****g future" makes clear that he, and the band by extension, is more desperate, more intense, and not just a little bleak this time out. The album is the sound of a twisted, troubled soul exposed completely and without the electric performances of the band (guitarists Neil and Tom are especially good throughout) and the level of commitment the vocalists exhibit; it could have sunk into an insular sulk that would have made it a slog to get through. It's far from that; it's more of a ripping, invigorating howl than a self-pitying whimper. Songs like "Miserabilia" and "The End of the Asterisk" were made for pounding the steering wheel as you drive home from a lousy day at work, "Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1" and "You'll Need All Those Fingers for Crossing" are made for long train rides home after breakups. While some fans of the band's earlier, less gritty and seemingly less serious songs may be initially put off by the emotion and desperation on display, they need to give the record a chance to take hold. Once it does, it grabs you by the throat and the heart, and doesn't let go. Hold on Now, Youngster is still the more magical of the two records, it's the one to play when you want to feel joy, but We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed has more depth and feeling. It's proof that Los Campesinos! are more than just cuddly indie pop cuties, they mean real grown-up business.

Customer Reviews

Consistently great

Although this is their second album in under a year, eliciting the thought that this might be an attempt by the band to capitalize on their current popularity, the material in the album is consistently great. These aren't B-sides from Hold On Now, Youngster... I'm hearing, fresh, strong, wonderful material: frantic guitars, rapid fire lyrics spelling out a 20-something reaction to the increasingly uncertain world. If you like poppy noise shared between a fast speaking, squelching male lead (Gareth) and the soft cooing vocals of one of the female leads in what sounds like a live jam session/ party full of glockenspiels, triangles and other interesting percussion - check this album out. If you liked the first Los Campesinos album, you'll love this one - it's even better.

sweet dreams for you sweet cheeks!

omg i was so happy when itunes gave a los campesinos! song for the song of the week b/c that's how i fell in love with them! this album has new material for us to try out but also has that familiar sound we've come to love...i <3 this whole album to love only 1 song he most!!! enjoy


The only real complaints i have for this album are: 1. the album artwork is trying a little too hard to be trendy; and more so 2. the songs will take a while to distinguish from one another. Nonetheless, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed is a great purchase full of energy and inventive lyrics worthy of your facebook profile quotes. It's a messy, pop pleaser full of various instrumentals and vocals, and you should really get it. Seriously.


Formed: 2006 in Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Celebrating a bratty, tongue-in-cheek viewpoint and a spunky indie punk style similar to Art Brut, while applying an assortment of instruments akin to Architecture in Helsinki, the seven-piece group Los Campesinos! (a Spanish name that roughly translates to "the Peasants") formed in 2006 in Cardiff, Wales. The lineup took shape around Cardiff University students Aleksandra (keyboard, horn), Ellen (bass), Gareth (glockenspiel), Harriet (violin, keyboard), Neil (guitar), Ollie (drums), and Tom (guitar),...
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We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, Los Campesinos!
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