CD Round-up

Los Campesinos! get sick of love while Spoon makes utensils cool (again).

PHOTO COURTESY ARTS & CRAFTS

PHOTO COURTESY ARTS & CRAFTS

Tony Libera

Los Campesinos! ALBUM: âÄúRomance is BoringâÄù LABEL: âÄú Arts & Crafts As a general rule of thumb, itâÄôs good to avoid any musical act with the audacity to put an exclamation point in their name (like Panic! At The Disco and early decade P!nk ). Who the hell do they think they are? But thereâÄôs always an exception to the rule, as is the case with indie rock darlings Los Campesinos!, whose latest album, âÄúRomance is Boring,âÄù provides frenetic pacing, distorted shouts and madcap guitar lines that hum up and down the scales. The album proper isnâÄôt nearly as jaded as the title would have you believe, and thereâÄôs a certain folksy charm to the dueling male/female vocals that betrays their self-professed apathy. It might have been better titled âÄúRomance Became BoringâÄù as the lyrics focus on passionate affairs sliding into decline from higher peaks. Still, the alleged romantic indifference does offer more than a few witty jabs. âÄúStraight in at 101âÄù showcases Gareth Campesinos ! brazenly spouting, âÄúI think we need more post-coital and less post-rock/feels like the buildup takes forever but you never get me off.âÄù Clever lamentations are one thing, but Los Campesinos!âÄô biggest draw is the sprawling musical eclecticism that permeates this album. Take tracks four through six as a sample: âÄúWeâÄôve Got Your Back âÄù swoons with playful doe-eyed pop and modest handclaps before fading into âÄúPlan A ,âÄù a frenzied freak-out that sounds like something off a Blood Brothers album. Eventually the madness subsides and melts into âÄú200-102,âÄù a subtle interlude of acoustic noodling, and then weâÄôre right back into dance-worthy pop-rock. Los Campesinos!âÄô constant diversity and rambling instrumentation makes âÄúRomance is BoringâÄù a flavorful record from end to end. Where else are you going to hear a glockenspiel sound this cool? 4/5 Stars Spoon ALBUM: âÄúTransference LABEL: âÄúMerge ItâÄôs a bit of a surprise that the lads of Spoon have yet to break into mainstream consciousness. Their sound manages elegance without pretension while their lyrics can touch on the sentimental without smothering it in cheese. To top it off, Britt DanielâÄôs subtle crackle is leagues ahead of that Kings of Leon jag Caleb Followill . Their new album, âÄúTransferenceâÄù doesnâÄôt quite reach the levels of infectious melodiousness that âÄúGa Ga Ga Ga Ga âÄù did, but it maintains accessibility throughout. âÄúTransferenceâÄù has more than a few highlights, but the most noteworthy tracks are the dirtiest. âÄúI Saw the LightâÄù hammers a metronomic bass line into the skull before jumping in with swampy guitars and DanielâÄôs aching growl of revelation. The drums continue to thump and the track slides into a jazzy piano breakdown that could double as baby-making music. On âÄúGot Nuffin, âÄù the bass and drums again employ the pulsing repetition that pervades the album, but this time the guitars stay clean and alluring. ItâÄôs DanielâÄôs vocal work that drags this track into muddy territory. He moans that heâÄôs âÄúgot nothing to lose but darkness and shadowsâÄù and then releases a perfectly out of tune screech reeking of animalism and punk vitality. The album is not without its tender tracks; âÄúIs Love Forever?âÄù and âÄúGoodnight Laura âÄù are both subtle gems fit for mainstream radio play, but overall âÄúTransferenceâÄù is a decidedly darker album. 4/5 Stars