Album review: "Hello Sadness"
It's slightly surprising that Los Campesinos! has lasted as long as it has. From the time the band broke out in 2007, it had all the makings of a short-lived novelty act: a playful melange of instruments from violins to glockenspiels, the adoption of the common surname of Campesinos and an obsession with youth culture that included establishing their following on the now-irrelevant MySpace social network."
But, lo and behold, the septet is still going strong with its fourth album, "Hello Sadness," albeit with some personnel changes. "Hello Sadness" definitely sounds like a Los Campesinos! album - Gareth Campesinos's droll sing-speak, lo-fi keyboard riffs and shouted background vocals - but the band's exuberance is significantly reduced.
In the tight, 10-song set are such slow-burners as "Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions)" and album closer "Light Leaves, Dark Sees Pt. II." Lighter guitars and pensive percussion lend more focus to Gareth's wry, wording songwriting.
In general, the tone seems more substantive but less exciting. And while Gareth's snark has always been the band's hallmark and the opening shout-along, "By Your Hand," recalls the early days, "Hello Sadness" puts the band on a less cutesy and more serious trajectory.
--Dan Miller, Nov. 18, 2011