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Next up: I will be featuring in the short films Dark & Stormy and Belfast Caliber 9.

26 Apr 2017

Los Campesinos are the most important guitar band of the year!

OK, so this isn't acting, or theatre, or film, but this is important. Listen to Los Campesinos! and do it now. They are unquestionably the most imaginative guitar band going at the minute, with their latest album Sick Scenes up there with Stormzy and Kendrick Lamar as one of the few essential LPs released in 2017.
   

Following up their exquisite 2013 album No Blues was a big task, particularly with the four year wait that intervened - given that they released their first three albums in about 18 months. But they built on the success of that album, and assumed all the misery the planet endured in the interim--particularly Brexit--and combined it with their trademark ear for a great melody and peppered football references in amongst their existentialist lyrics.

5 Flucloxacillin the second promo video off the record describes the numb haze that a lot of people felt as triumphalist pensioners paraded their 'victory' on the day the Brexit result was declared. As they have said themselves about their own struggles with mental health (The title and first line is a reference to prescription anti depressants):
“As time ticks by and I become entrenched in my thirties I realise I’ve now spent half of my life medicating and self-medicating for depression, acne, countless viral infections and, worst of all, relentless ingrown toenails. Most everyone I know struggles with their mental health and is trying to cope in whatever way they can, while baby-boomers chastise us millennials for the manner in which we attempt to find solace amidst, and fumble out of the mess they made for us” source: genius.com
And in the video they parody Bargain Hunt, a daytime TV show for retirees with little to worry about, while Easter Egging their own (relative) longevity on the indie music scene by finding a copy of their own debut album in the bargain bin.


The lyrics overall are a blisteringly honest portrayal of singer Gareth's difficulty with his anxiety - on A Slow Slow Death (ironically, a slow slow death being the happy ending -- a long life) he lays his emotions bare:

Some days I struggle to move in elephant shoes, unwilling commuter
Anxiety in my chest, heart under duress, taps out of sharpshooter
Preoccupied now for days, by nostalgia waves, I hated the first time
 
A gambler's fallacy: The more I repeat, I won't be the punchline
Not that an album this good is a easy thing to a) make or b) market in this post-piracy world of all-conquering streaming service. To fund the recording of it they designed and distributed their own branded football jerseys, in reference to their career-long practice of including cult football homages in their tunes.

The fact that they have hung in this long is something of a wonder in itself, with the closest thing they've had to a commercial hit is a Budweiser ad that used their crescendoing "You, Me, Dancing" in one of their major campaigns. So get on this band, because guitar music needs a serious kick in the arse - if there's to be any life in it at all in the next ten years.