I was a little hesitant to listen to Hello Sadness, the fourth/third album from Los Campesinos. I am someone who really enjoyed Hold on Now, Youngster… and We are Beautiful, We are Doomed, but found Romance is Boring to be disappointing. If this album was another disappointment, it would be hard for me to be optimistic about Los Campesinos’ future. But, on the other hand, it’s been a while since I listened to something by these folks. It turns out I missed them. And Hello Sadness, ironically, is enough to give me hope.
If the title didn’t tip you off, it’s probably safe to say that this collection of songs wasn’t inspired by good times. No, the imagery here is dark, the themes miserable – but with that signature Campesinos sardonic wit. It’s all a far cry from the jittery excitement of the first couple albums, but it’s exactly the direction the band had to go in; you can’t sustain something like that. As members have come and gone, the band has pushed lead singer Gareth more into the foreground, and this album is more personal and confident for it. The guy’s pretty good at this.
The rest of the band is still great, of course. There’s plenty to love here for fans of guitars, female backup vocals and more guitars. Yeah, the band’s a little less expansive then it used to be, and you can hear it on this record. However, this is still unmistakably Los Campesinos; the songs still build to amazing highs from humble lows. They’re still a delight to listen to. Or maybe I should say, they’re a delight to listen to again.
Favorite Tracks: “By Your Hand,” “Every Defeat is a Divorce (Three Lions),” “The Black Bird, The Dark Slope”