Album Review: Los Campesinos! – Sick Scenes

Review from Ben Forrester

Review from Ben Forrester

It’s been four years since Los Campesinos! have graced us with new music, which is quite the gap considering that they once released two albums only eight months apart from each other. As an avid follower of the band, I always look forward to hearing a new long player from them and the announcement of their sixth album ‘Sick Scenes‘ was greeted, as ever, with much anticipation.

With their previous effort, 2013’s ‘No Blues‘, Los Camp penned their most expansive and widescreen set of indie-pop to date, as they messed about with electronics and brought even more instruments into the fold. Although Sick Scenes does share many grand sonic moments, for the most part it sees the band harking back to the super sprightly pop sounds of their earlier material. Basically, they bring back the hits here!

The album opens with a hat trick of sparkling pop bangers! ‘Renato Dall’Ara (2008)‘ kicks off the album at full speed with the most contagious vocal hook and might be their finest opening track to date. ‘Sad Suppers‘ keeps the momentum up with a driving drum beat complete with another glittery, ear-worm of a melody and recent single ‘I Broke Up In Amarante‘ is a classic LC heart-on-sleeve anthem, cementing their knack for the crowd friendly chorus!

From then on in it’s a mix of fist pumping indie anthems (‘For Whom The Belly Tolls’ / ‘Here’s To The Fourth Time!’) to ever-building, majestic pop gems (‘A Slow, Slow Death’ / ‘The Fall Of Home’). In true LC fashion, Sick Scenes is another well balanced set of songs that will make you wanna jump on beds and shout out loud, with others that will make you wanna sit back, take a deep breath and watch the world go by.

Frontman Gareth has always been a huge component in the Los Camp machine, due to his painfully honest lyrics and distinctive, off-kilter vocal style. What’s great to see on this album is him pushing his vocals into new territories, with tracks like ‘5 Flucloxacillin‘ and ‘Got Stendhal’s‘ boasting this really impassioned, falsetto style, adding a new dimension to his well delivered tales of love, loss and non-league football.

Los Camp have always had a winning formula when it comes to songwriting and I would say that still works well for a large portion of this album. However, there are a couple of tracks here where I think the band tread over the same ground a little bit melodically, which can make for some average moments. But in the same breath, I don’t know many bands that have as many stick-in -yer-head for days hooks as LC do and the good really does out weigh the average here.

For the most part, Sick Scenes is another sturdy Los Campesinos! album. It feels like their most instant, amped up set since their second album ‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’, whilst retaining the more plush, expansive production of their last two records. There’s a lot to love here and in my eyes the world will always seem a better place with a new Los Camp record in it.

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