"I cannot emphasize enough that my body is a badly designed, poorly put together vessel
harbouring these diminishing, so-called "vital" organs
hope my heart goes first
I HOPE MY HEART GOES FIRST"
—Los Campesinos!, "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed"
Los Campesinos! are an indie pop band from Cardiff, Wales
(although most of their members are from England).
The band consists of six members who play an array of instruments, all of whom have adopted the shared last name "Campesinos"
: Gareth (vocals, glockenspiel, songwriting), Tom (guitar), Neil (guitar), Kim (vocals, keyboards, flute), Rob (various instruments) and Jason (drums). The band initially included singer/keyboardist Aleksandra, but she left the band amicably in 2009 and was replaced by Gareth's sister Kim. Original drummer Ollie left in early 2010 and was replaced by Jason, the band's tour manager and - to an extent, Rob
(who had been touring with the band as an additional musician for about a year). A third original band member, violinist and keyboardist Harriet, left the band in September 2011 to continue her studies. A fourth, bassist Ellen, left the band in December 2012 to focus on her writing career, among other projects.
- Sticking Fingers into Sockets EP (2007)
- Hold On Now, Youngster... (2008)
- We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (2008)
- Romance is Boring (2010)
- All's Well That Ends EP (2010)
- Hello Sadness (2011)
- A Good Night for a Fist Fight live album (2013)
- No Blues (2013)
Los Campesinos! provides examples of these tropes!
- A Date with Rosie Palms: In "Plan A", after becoming "the new King of Malta", the lead character gets his partner's face printed on the national currency. After seeing her picture, "the workforce retires to the bathroom".
- "The Time Before The Last Time" has: "The shower head moaned, and I looked down to the drain, sons and daughters washed away."
- Album Title Drop: We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, Romance Is Boring and Hello Sadness all feature one within each album's title track. A Good Night For A Fist Fight's album title comes from the song By Your Hand and No Blues' comes from the song As Lucerne/The Low.
- Almighty Janitor: Gareth works as a part-time groundskeeper of a local church's cemetery when the band isn't touring, a job which he told Pitchfork makes him "incredibly happy" to do.
- Arc Words: "Doe eyes" is frequently mentioned in their songs.
- Eyes are a recurring theme in "Hello Sadness," and the phrase "sad eyes" appears in the last three song songs on the album: To Tundra ("We take on the burden of all these sad-eyed children, with lilies bunched in our hands"), Baby, I Got the Death Rattle ("One look in my sad eyes, she had to concede"), and Light Leaves, Dark Sees Pt. II ("But they request that I leave 'cause my sad eyes are too much to bear").
- Band of Relatives: Type 1. Gareth and Kim Campesinos! are brother and sister.
- The Beautiful Game: The band (especially Gareth) are big football followers, and it shows up in quite a few songs.
- "All Your Kayfabe Friends": "You asked if I'd be anyone from history, fact or fiction, dead or alive: I said I'd be Tony Cascarino, circa 1995"
- "Miserabilia": "I've cried on ashen floor of working men's clubs, 96, 98, 2000, 2002, 2004, oh my God, will it end?", referring to the English national team's brave/heartbreaking/pathetic exits at European Championships and World Cups.
- Pretty much half of "Plan A" is about the singer getting called up to play for Malta (a country with a historically lousy football team), scoring a last-minute blinder, and becoming a national hero.
- "This Is A Flag. There Is No Wind": "An analogy that makes sense to most: this opportunity had found me unmarked at the far post, but I blazed it right against the crossbar"
- "We've Got Your Back": "Every girl I ever kissed I was thinking of a pro footballer, thought you should know..."
- "Every Defeat is a Divorce (Three Lions)": Three Lions is a reference to the logo of the English National Football team. The entire song is about football, and includes lyrics about the logo gaining sentience and attempting to claw Gareth to death.
- Yet another reference comes from "Songs About Your Girlfriend": "She stubbed her home club's crest on me with cigarettes, a swift to match the bird upon her football shirt", which may or may not be a reference to English League One side Walsall F.C., whose badge features a swift.
- No Blues has a TON; Gareth has said that he's finally comfortable putting lots in, as it's a subject he feels confident making reference to.
- "Let it Spill": "Béla Guttmann of love, curse all my exes to a life of celibacy" references the Hungarian football manager Béla Guttmann. Guttmann led Benfica to two successive European Cup wins and, after parting with the club on bad terms, is said to have left a curse on the club so that they would never win a European Cup again. Benfica has since lost seven major European finals without winning once.
- Two more in "For Flotsam": "Last set of goalposts taken down, summer of odd-numbered year" being linked to a year with no World Cup or European Championships and therefore no interest, and "She's catenaccio" referring to the Italian, overtly-defensive style of football (i.e. he's getting nowhere with her)
- "What Death Leaves Behind": "I proofread the book of Job for the lord, edit one: League Cup 2004" is a reference to obscure Middlesborough player Joseph-Désiré Job, who scored in the 2004 English League Cup final.
- "Glue Me": "Leave with all the dignity of a missed Panenka penalty" and "We connected like a Yeboah volley"
- Breakup Song: Hello Sadness is a breakup album.
- The Bus Came Back: Aleksandra appears on the band's 2013 live album A Good Night for a Fist Fight, singing on "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks". The album was recorded during Ellen's last show as a member of the band in December 2012, three and a half years after Aleks initially left the band.
- Colbert Bump: Gareth's continuous references to his favorite author, the late metafictional novelist B.S. Johnson, on the band's blog and in interviews has at least slightly raised the profile of the semi-obscure writer.
- The Cover Changes The Gender: Averted, probably on purpose, with their cover of Heavenly's famed duet with Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening, "C Is the Heavenly Option". That is, Calvin Johnson's part is sung by the female Aleksandra, and Heavenly guitarist Amelia Fletcher's part is sung by the male Gareth.
- Gareth has said in an interview that it was mainly because he wanted to do Amelia's spoken/rapped breakdown
- Cover Version: A favorite of the band for B-sides early in their career. Aside from the cover of Heavenly's "C is the Heavenly Option", they also recorded covers of "Frontwards" by Pavement, "Yr Boyfriend" by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, "The Eyebright Bugler" by Deerhoof and "Police Story" by Black Flag.
- Creator Backlash: Gareth doesn't care too much for "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives", one of their earliest singles.
- He supposedly hated "You! Me! Dancing!", although by now its one of their few early songs that remain in their concert setlist, so perhaps his feelings have changed.
- This could be a case of Revival By Commercialisation, as it's often preceded by "this song is about beer", and has some lyrics changed to "every single one of us Budweiser 'til we die".
- Darker and Edgier: While they still have quite a few poppier numbers on their more recent albums, they're far more noisier and lyrically dense than their earlier songs. Compare 2006's "It Started with a Mixx" to 2010's "This is a Flag, There is No Wind"
- Either/Or Title: "A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; or, Letters from Me to Charlotte"
- Epic Instrumental Opener: The first 1:42 of "You! Me! Dancing!", a gradually building wall of noise before the main riff hits. The sense of anticipation it gives off was used nicely (in abridged form) in a recent advertisment for Budweiser beer
- Excited Show Title!: Aside from the band's name, the song titles "You! Me! Dancing!" and "Death to Los Campesinos!"
- Fade Out: "Baby I Got The Death Rattle" has one.
- Genre Shift: They had a poppier sound on Sticking Fingers into Sockets and Hold On Now, Youngster..., but then band's music got darker and noisier on their next few albums. Early Word of God had it that Hello Sadness was to be a slight return to their early poppy sound, but instead it shifted the band into a less noisy and more mature sound.
- Hidden Track: Hold On Now, Youngster... contains an unlisted track, the largely instrumental "2007: The Year Punk Broke (My Heart)" as its 12th song. The band claims its supposed to be an epilogue and not an actual song on the album, hence it being an unlisted, separate track and not hidden after the 11th song.
- On the vinyl release of the album, the song is included on a separate 10" disc.
- In Medias Res: The name of the first song on Romance is Boring. The first line of the song "...But let's talk about you for a minute" suggests that the song itself begins in medias res.
- Insistent Terminology: The band and their label claim ''We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed" isn't their second album. The band calls it an "EEP", an "Extended Extended Play". Wikipedia calls it a "mini-album" instead.
- List Song: "My Year In Lists" is a bit of a subversion, as the singer "declines" the request to compile a list.
- Live Album: As listed above, A Good Night For A Fist Fight documents Ellen's last show with the band in November 2012.
- Long Title: "This Is How You Spell 'HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics'". Yes, the whole title does appear in the lyrics.
- "Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1", certainly in terms of syllables.
- Name's the Same: The band's name means "The Farmers" in Spanish, and as you might expect, there's a Spanish language band with the same name (without the exclamation point), a South American traditional folk group.
- Non-Appearing Title: Quite a few. Among them are "Death to Los Campesinos!", "Plan A", "Who Fell Asleep In", "It's Never That Easy Though, Is It? (Song for the Other Kurt)" and "Knee Deep At ATP"
- Astonishingly averted with "This Is How You Spell 'HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics'"
- Once for Yes, Twice for No: The final lines of "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks"
- Other Common Music Video Concepts: "Death to Los Campesinos!" is one of the "In The Studio" ones...until the band starts being attacked (and killed) by flowers, rainbows, kittens and ribbons. Its apparently the band's reaction to being pigeonholed and dismissed as a "twee band".
- Religion Rant Song: Type 2 on "We've Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2)"
- Rock Star Song: The first verse of "Songs About Your Girlfriend" comes across as a tongue-in-cheek version of this.
"You do not like us 'cause your girlfriend likely does, and all her friends agree on her soft spot for me, I'll have my hard hands over her soft spots soon, you will see"
- Scatting: "Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats" briefly features some in the second verse.
- Self-Deprecation: lots of it in various lyrics (see the page quote for one example), but it also comes to the fore during Gareth's between-song stage banter on AGNFAFF
- "We're all uglier and - a couple of us - substantially fatter than we were back then"
- "This was a single, which means either it was a really popular song, or we released the wrong song as a single. I think we all know which we're more likely to do."
- Ships That Pass in the Night: Invoked - The bridge of "Romance is Boring" provides one of the trope's page quotes.
- Silly Love Songs: While the band tend to shy away from these sort of songs, "Heart Swells/Pacific Daylight Time" is acknowledged specifically on A Good Night For A Fistfight as being "the first proper, genuine, love song we ever wrote".
"I don't want to sound trite, but you are perfect"
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Gareth's dislike of folk punk singer/songwriter Frank Turner often takes a turn into this direction.
- Shout-Out: The "bake phallic cake" line from the song "Romance Is Boring" is a reference to "I Love You (But You're Boring)" by Gareth Campesinos!'s all-time favourite band, The Beautiful South.
- In 2013, the band started selling t-shirts with the slogan "You! Me! Danson!"
- Stage Names: The shared "Campesinos" surname.
- Stop and Go: "Death To Los Campesinos!" features one, which is often left hanging for as long as possible when played live.
- Textless Album Cover: Romance Is Boring
- The Sixth Ranger: Rob. He started out as their opening act with his solo project Sparky Deathcap in 2008 and slowly worked his way to being an official member by 2010.
- Spoken Word in Music: Quite a few songs (particularly from earlier albums) have spoken sections.
- "You! Me! Dancing!" has a spoken word outro.
- "This Is How You Spell 'HAHAHA, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams Of A Generation of Faux-Romantics' has a spoken middle section.
- "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed" has a couple.
- Rob's "Graceful, gracious companion" part from "By Your Hand" could also count.
- Stealing from the Till: The chorus of "Death to Los Campesinos!"
"If you catch me with my hands in the till, I promise, sugar I wasn't trying to steal..."
- Theme Naming: The shared "Campesinos" surname.
- Unplugged Version: in 2010 the band released the All's Well That Ends EP, containing acoustic versions of songs from Romance Is Boring.
- Vocal Tag Team: Gareth and Aleks, particularly on "Death to Los Campesinos!", "My Year In Lists", "The End of the Asterisk", and "Documented Emotional Breakdown #2 (We've Got Your Back)".
- After Aleks' departure, Kim took up the role on the older songs, as well as singing the chorus on "The Black Bird, The Dark Slope"