The Los Campesinos! listening club: Sleeper hits for weeping dipshits! A Los Campesinos Christmas starts at post 474!

another twofer today, first we have Hello Sadness

and then Whole Damn Body which is a compilation of the singles released as part of the Heat Rash zine from between RiB and HS (except for Tiptoe Through the True Bits which was a download from their website iirc?)

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slow start on this one eh? definitely the album i return to least, as much as By Your Hand and the title track are some of their strongest songs, i feel like the rest of the album is some of their weakest stuff? idk, i know it’s a lot of people’s favourite but it feels very much like a transitional album for the band, like the songwriting is less confident or something

Gotta listen to this alongside that second Slow Club for maximum misery.

My initial response is to say I really like this one but I’m also aware it came out just after I uprooted my entire life to move to the other end of the country and my then-partner took a job abroad and ended our relationship. So I’m not really sure it could’ve come at a better time tbqh.

That said “by your hand / is the only end I foresee” is quite an opening line for an album, even for a band who pretty much only have amazing opening lines. You know what you’re getting and they definitely deliver on that. I just think overall I prefer black humour misery Los Camp to actual gut wrenching misery Los Camp.

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oooohhh is this around the time that gareth and rebecca split up? i assumed it was earlier than this, dunno why

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Yeah, pretty sure. I don’t have either to check but I think you can find photos of them on both album sleeves somewhere.

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Can I just say that this might be one of the most intrinsically linked album art =/= sound of album for me ever

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that’s interesting, i don’t think it’s great artwork personally, it’s certainly the least memorable of all their albums. i actually had to check to see what it was, i think i associate this album with the Hello Sadness t shirt i had with the two hands and the lighter

IIRC it was released in the autumn / winter (just checked: it was mid November) and I would listen to it pretty much on repeat for a few months around that time. Otherwise it might be a bit on the nose to feel that way about the cover given ‘To Tundra’ is on the record but I always associate it with a much bleaker direction, lyrically and musically. ‘…Death Rattle’ and ‘Light Leaves, Dark Sees’ as well.

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Gonna listen to WDB again in a bit so will come back to that but Hello Sadness is my second favourite LC! record after the debut. A study of what it’s like to be both incredibly depressed and incredibly horny imo, that’s probably why it massively clicked for me at the time it came out. If the title track had been released in 2004-6 they’d have been huge, it’s got that propulsive energy rising to a big singalong-style ending that we fucking loved back then. The only skipper for me is Hate For The Island, just a bit boring compared to the rest. Also +1 point for By Your Hand getting another doe eyes reference in.

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Listening back to this. It really really is a miserable record but actually, yeah, it’s pretty great.

Hate for the Island and To Tundra are both a bit of a slog, but that run of the first three tracks are some of their best pop songs, musically there’s some of their most interesting and confident work imo (The Black Bird, the Dark Slope :heart:), and Baby I Got the Death Rattle is just incredible - the tempo changes from the opening, the drop out before the final charge (“I’m seriously, so listen”), the way the lyrics swing between absolute cringe and unfettered misery - which is what a breakup is in retrospect. It just all works so well.

I’m with @Funkhouser on this, my second favourite album of theirs.

I pretty much got off the Los Camp train after this. Someone described RiB as being their last push at being a commercial band, which I I think is fair. With this they’d settled into their role as an important band, with the downside that after this the gaps between records got longer (and then even longer). I don’t think the stuff that came after was ever as important to me in the same way as this was. But also I don’t know if I’d have wanted it to be.

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I agree until last minute or so which is really good.

Never really listened to this at the time when it came out, don’t know why.

Coming to it later on there are some of their best songs on this, and also some of their weakest.

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I listened to this a lot when it came out. In a way it definitely feels “de-fanged” compared to the previous albums, but I feel weird saying that because I love this album a lot and some of the songs on there are all-timers for me. I would maybe be tempted to compare it to something like The Moon and Antarctica by Modest Mouse (and, looking at the cover artwork, it wouldn’t surprise me if that album was a reference point) particularly with that very wintry sort of melancholy that’s all over the album.

Love it. Listening to it in context of the club, it felt a bit more like the start of a second phase to me - the albums since feel more like they’re refining what they do here more than hearkening back to anything pre-Romance is Boring.

Oh! Just remembered another thing that came to mind when I listened to this – this album feels a LOT like the post-reunion Suede albums to me. I’d never really thought of them comparatively before. Superficially I feel like the vocals are similar and the approach to drama, but maybe more than anything it’s the sense of being maybe more understated in some ways than their former selves but also doing the strongest possible version of that. A lot of the time, a “more mature sound” can just mean a band gets boring - but that’s not the case here. It’s “more mature” but also no less compelling and no less characterful

the listening club, I mean ofc

reading that back gave a very funny image of sipping my gin and juice while listening to ‘Hate for the Island’ in the VIP area

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as I often do of a Saturday

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I agree with this and I’d put my money on it being because of the line up changes. Aleksandra left after recording RiB (with Kim coming in) and Hello Sadness is the first with a different drummer. Sparky Deathcap was a touring member for the RiB tour but became permanent for recording this I think?

Would explain why an influx of new ideas lead to some great tracks but also a bit of a wayward release.

Iirc there was a also bit of grumbling when the old drummer left - some fans seemed to think he’d been pushed out for not being good enough? Seemed like bollocks. Can’t find any mention of it online but was a weird moment.

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Yeah, that’s him doing some of the vocals on By Your Hand iirc

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This is correct. They confirm it in the Romance Is Boring oral history.

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Quite a funny paragraph on this Los Camp wiki I found

Professionally kicked out.

I’d completely forgotten this but it was definitely “a thing” at the time.

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Hello Sadness is a weird one for me. I was 17 when it came out and I definitely associate it with a pretty miserable winter, where being a teenager was becoming less fun - falling out with friends, romantic woes, drink and drugs infiltrating deeper into our friendship group.
Was pretty hyped for the album after RiB but was certainly underwhelmed initially - think I have always preferred fast, chaotic LC! to slow, miserable LC! and this album leans more heavily on the latter.
The title track and ‘The Black Bird…’ have always been all timers though. Title track feels really stately and majestic while chugging along, always put me in mind of early Arcade Fire in that sense (ick)
Probably haven’t listened to the album in full since 2012 at least, it’s just too much of a time capsule of that grim winter for me.

(I took E’s for the first time later that winter too and started going clubbing, so that was the end of my sadboi teenage era after that. Got back on the LC! train for No Blues though.)

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