Their neckbreak rock style that somehow straddles post-rock and post-punk as best exemplified on the explosive Youngster ... opener Death to Los Campesinos! no longer catches listeners unaware, but singer and songwriter Gareth Campesinos! vocal improvements and knack for darkly comical, hyperdetailed storytelling really focuses this discs stories about messy relationships and death. He laments over screwed-up love and English soccers recent woes on Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions) and, after describing a girl as the prettiest in the world on By Your Hand, a sexy tryst goes downhill when she vomits down my rental tux.
By Your Hand is the single, and it ranks up there with the Welsh seven-pieces best, hookiest work. By your hand is the only end I foresee! the band melodically shouts in one of its signature moments of indie catharsis. The Black Bird, the Dark Slope is the straight-up, boy-girl, vocal-heavy rocker the group knows well, marked by Jason Campesinos! signature, all-kit drum-pounding.
The guys even range beyond their realm of comfort in To Tundra, a slow burner that textures the sweeping, simple guitar chords they usually play on more leisurely songs with a simple analog rhythm. The effect is a well-paced love song that takes place behind the church in a hazy daydream, capped by a rising, exquisite arrangement and a desperate, Gareth-led chorus: Just take me with you as well.
And in case you didnt get your fill of overshared emotional drama in the albums first eight songs, dont worry. Baby I Got the Death Rattle and Light Leaves, Dark Sees Pt. II feature Gareth looking upon his own abattoir scene (But they request that I leave because my sad eyes are too much to bear, he sings, in one of the albums funniest, most vivid images) and burning the skin off his hands before visiting a palm reader.
Its morbid stuff, sure. But its cheeky, too. I mean, they all go by the same last name, Ramones-style, for pseudonyms sake! Also worth pointing out is the bands careful choral arrangements, which cast a multipart harmony atmosphere over the rushing rock on a bunch of the songs.
I recommend purchasing the physical format (whether on vinyl or CD), because the package includes lyrics and a making-of DVD shot by the bands own Ellen Campesinos! It reveals an affable, hardworking and funny little group and a producer, John Goodmanson, who pushes for terrific performances from each member.
Further bonus points tally up for using Oklahoma-based Walrus Audio pedals that were built by Gentle Ghosts own Brady Smith, who assured me that they nailed it. I agree. Hello Sadness is their most complete album on record.