Arts & Crafts
The songs on the first few Los Campe sinos! al bums were as earnest and impassioned as a freshman year romance. But beneath the wild-eyed intensity there throbbed undercurrents of spite and melancholy, if not nastiness and de pression. Now Los Campesinos!, who all attended the University of Cardiff in Wales, have matriculated into masters of self-laceration. While frontman Gareth David tries to talk tough (“I’ll have my hot hands over her soft parts soon,” goes “Songs About Your Girl friend”), he’s best when battered: “By Your Hand” dreams of post-romance death, and the bruised yawp of “The Black Bird, The Dark Slope” makes disembowelment sound like relief.