Los Campesinos! is a reliably good band, and the Welsh sextet's fifth LP, No Blues, is yet more proof.
Nothing much ever changes for the band. They're carrying on a tradition of pretty, unabashedly emotionally blunt indie rock, with only traces of irony and hardly anything lo-fi. There are soaring melodies accompanied by horns, spunky key riffs and, most of all, Gareth Campesons' overly-honest lyrics.
"There is no blues that could sound as heartfelt as mine," he sings on “As Lucerne/The Low,” and while you may beg to differ, you could never imagine telling him that. You can hear the earnestness in his voice. He sells the hell out of every sappy line, before twisting around to subtly poke fun at himself. Just look at the second single, “Avocado, Baby,” where he follows up “May she who casts the first fist of dirt across the casket have mourners lick the mud from her fingernails” with, “A heart of stone / Rind so tough it's crazy / That's why they call me the avocado, baby.”
The heartbreak and ever-lurking preoccupation with death can't bring down the catchy, joyful songwriting. Even the depressing “What Death Leaves Behind” is an energetic, reeling romp. “Cemetary Gait” sparkles with arpeggiating keys and the cymbals crash like the drummer just can't contain his enthusiasm. The closest the record gets to slowing or settling down is “The Time Before Last Time,” which is a squiggly and spacey dream.
No Blues isn't a surprise, but any band that can so consistently make sadness and mortality sound utterly blissful is welcome to just keep doing what they're doing.