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From the first whisper of glockenspiel and hand-claps, and at first glance of the glaring exclamation point in their name, it would be easy to write off Los Campesinos! as a bandwagon band, following the trend of kitschy spazz-pop a la Architecture in Helsinki. Their debut EP, which features six songs with annoyingly cute titles, sees the status-quo indie-pop formula clash with teenage angst and a visceral, rock edge. Where other frenetic pop bands superimpose cartoonish personification on arbitrary things to induce cuteness, LC! sing episodic tales from their teenage past with ambitious conviction.
On “It Started with a Mixx,” they lament “trying to find the perfect match between pretentious and pop.” Therein lies the question. They have the all-too-common peppy male and female vocals, which banter to the tune of follow-the-bouncing-ball melodies, but what makes the band stand out is their willingness to explore. The guitars are far more prominent (and loud) for a “pop” band, and they seem to be taking their cues from ’90s indie giants The Posies and emo pioneers The Anniversary more so than their flash-in-the-pan peers. Only time will tell where they stand, but it seems like these Welsh kids might have a little more to offer than a Casio keyboard and a mature sense of irony.