One of the purest hits of joy in music fandom is when one of your favorite bands releases a new song to announce their new album. A question trickles through the the fan base: “Have you heard the new…?” A thousand conversations are started, and we can begin to be excited for the new things on the horizon. Sharing that excitement is what Moxipop is for. We know that you have many choices for music editorial, reporting and information. But we also know we have our own specific voices and, with luck, you’ll find some of us have tastes that align with yours and we can all have that conversation together.
With that introduction to Moxipop out of the way, I can ask: Have you heard the new Los Campesinos! song?
It’s hard to imagine a time when Los Campesinos! was just a twee indie band that caught fire on MySpace. They would’ve been defined by these origins, and their place in the narrative of the changing music industry, but instead they made more interesting music. Their new advance single, “What Death Leaves Behind” is classic Los Campesinos! after all these years: a righteous chorus hook, psyche-heavy lyricism and swelling to catharsis.
It’s a little strange how comfortably familiar the song is when you consider how much the band has changed. A member departs amicably seemingly every album cycle. This time, the great Ellen Campesinos! gives up the bass to pursue her writing, but you don’t notice a hole in the track. It’s clear that the band’s keystone is and always will be lead singer and occasional glockenspiel player, Gareth Campesinos! No matter how much changes around him, it’s his fiery vision and painfully articulated lyrics that keeps the train moving.
On “What Death Leaves Behind,” Gareth finds himself wrapped up in mortal dread. It’s a theme that really went into 2nd gear on 2011’s Hello Sadness with songs like “The Blackbird, The Dark Slope,” but here he dives deeper into death as a relationship – “You are my shallow grave / I’ll tend you as a sexton.” In this darkness, the writing wrestles with Christian imagery, but always defuses it with trademark LC! wit: “I proofread the Book of Job for the lord / edit one, Leage Cup 2004.” It’s irreverant because Los Campesinos! believes in only a few things as sacrosanct: love, death, and sports. And even love is questionable.
The new album, No Blues is out October 29 on Wichita Recordings, Turnstile & Heart Swells.
Justin Pansacola is a writer living in Los Angeles. At the University of California, Riverside he received his degree in creative writing, not english, although he has resigned to the fact that no one cares about the difference. You can follow him on Twitter @wordcore. On some nights he looks up at the moon and wonders if you’re looking at the same moon, too.