City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Review: Los Campesinos

By Euan Andrews - Posted on 22 February 2010

Los Campesinos
Show Details
The Bongo Club

 In many ways, Los Campesinos could be taken as the archetypal modern day indie band.  A glee club gathering of wholesome appearing girls and boys, eight members strong and bashing out an excited, puppy dog Pavement-style blitz on seemingly whatever instruments were immediately at hand.  Their very appearance screams “We Are Young”.  Fittingly, their 2008 debut album was entitled Hold On, Youngster.

Tonight seems slightly problematic for them, however.  Singer, and occasional glockenspiel wielder, Gareth Campesinos refers to the collective as a “middling, touring indie band” during one of several moments when a piece of equipment goes wonky.  He apologises to a receptively enthusiastic Bongo Club crowd, says they’re usually drunk and a lot more fun.  But tonight is his second night on the tour sober and it doesn’t seem to be working.  There’s a bit of a moan at their record label for sending out review copies of new single “Romance Is Boring” when he hadn’t even seen a copy.

It seems they’re not such a band of happy campers as they seem.  The overall impression is that of a group who formed for fun and friendship suddenly becoming a label and PR priority, with all the added, possibly unwanted, responsibility and career expectation that brings.

But the crowd, singing along to new songs, clearly love them, greeting them as beloved friends on stage.  Los Campesinos’ sprawling instrumentation provides quite a punch for what could be slightly fey material.  This is best demonstrated following one of the technical hitches, when the middling indie band shake off their woes and shackles with an almighty, prolonged crescendo which seems to free them up and put some smiles on their faces.

Final song, “Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks”, seems most fitting.  A bittersweet send-off and acknowledgement that these are fleeting moments.  Maybe Los Campesinos teeter on the verge of being “the next Belle & Sebastian”.  Maybe in just a year they’ll be gone and will one day be mentioned on the “Where Are They Now” back pages of vintage rock monthlies.  It’s all ahead of them.