Los Campesinos! @ Electric Ballrooms, Camden
22 March 2012
Despite having existed for the best part of six years, Los Campesinos! have become something of a rarity in these times. They were one of the original ‘internet hype’ bands in 2006-07, back when online buzz around a band really felt genuine – not now, when any old song can go viral in a day via Facebook and YouTube – back when ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ on MySpace made you dizzy with the promise in its exuberant, bouncy pop sound with fuzzy guitar scrawls all over it. They’re rare because if they were unsigned now, you’d wager the chances of people caring in six months would be slim, never mind six years. They’re rare because since they formed they’ve amassed some 45+ songs across four brilliant albums*, yet they’re still something of an insider band, a band you have to seek out, rather than a band that come to you via seemingly omnipotent media messages.
(*To me, We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed must be a second album, since it is 10 songs long and contains surely their best opening track to date).
They’re rare, too, because they realise this and appear to have wry and pragmatic self-deprecation in spades: I can think of no other band around today who, after writing four LPs in six years, would introduce their breakthrough track from the previous decade by all cheerfully clinking bottles of Budweiser – the beer ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ helped advertise in a commercial at the end of 2010 and into 2011. Yes, of course that sort of deal is great news for a band that spent their first years gigging in between writing dissertations and taking exams, but there’s a certain irony in that their breakthrough song is only recently standing up on its own merit, years later.