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Archive for the ‘Significant Objects’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: LOS CAMPESINOS! We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed (2008).

This is Los Campesinos! second disc in a year (after the smashing success of their debut).

The disc opens with a blast in “Make It Through the Walls”–great male and female shared vocals as well as gang screamed vocals; and by the end: violins.  It’s like the Los Campesinos! catalog packed into four minutes.  It’s followed by “Miserabilia” a perfect three-minute pop song (except for all those rough edges, of course), but it very nicely combines melody and punk attitude.

The title track continues with the frantically happy sounding music that backs off for lyrics like “We kid ourselves that there’s future in the fucking, but there is no fucking future.”   Meanwhile, “You’ll Need Those Fingers for Crossing” emphasizes their low end, which doesn’t often get a lot of emphasis.  “It’s Never That Easy Though, Is It?” has some great violins and group vocals (not screamed for a change).  “The End of the Asterisk” is an under two-minute blast of fun nonsense (with a fun chorus).

I’ve talked about the music but not much about the lyrics–but rest assured they are just as literate and darkly comic as on Romance is Boring.  Although the titles are certainly a giveaway, none sum up Los Campesinos! as much as “Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1” (which has some very cool sound effects thrown in too).

“Heart Swells–Pacific Daylight Time” is one of their achingly slow songs that reminds me of “The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future” (I know, that song came later, but I’m reviewing them backwards).  Although this one is much shorter.  The disc ends with “All Your Kayfabe Friends” which has these fun triplet notes that ascend and descend with each line.

My copy came with a bonus DVD.  The disc contains a 30 minute home movie of the band on tour.  It’s nothing terribly revelatory, although it is amusing in places.  The home movie quality of it makes it a bit more personal, but also means that some shots are totally missed, which is a shame.   There’s also a few minutes of the band on various stages, which is quite a treat as I’ve never seen them live–they really embody their music and Gareth Campesinos! is a great front man.

At only 32 minutes, this is certainly a short release.  Wikipedia says that they argued that this was not a cash grab after the success of their first album.  And that’s believable, even if the only thing that makes this more than half an hour is the fiddly instrumental “Between an Erupting Earth and an Exploding Sky.”   Nevertheless, Los Campesinos! released some wonderfully cool songs.

[READ: February 28, 2012] “Laikas”

I complained recently that although Kuitenbrouwer calls this piece “Laikas” when you click on the link to Significant Objects, it is listed as “Greek Ashtray-Plate.”  This evidently has something to do with the nature of its publication.  Although I don’t know the pre-publication information, underneath the story it says:

The bidding on this object, with story by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, has ended. Original price: 69 cents. Final price: $30. Proceeds from this auction go to Girls Write Now

So, one assumes that Kuitenbrouwer wrote this short (very short) story about the ashtray-plate–after all, the full name of the website is Significant Objects…and how they got that way–so it all pieces together nicely.

As I said this is a very short piece (a page and a half, tops) that works as a quick sketch of why the ashtray-plate looks the way it does as well as a brief sketch of its owner. The details about the ashtray-plate are wonderful, vivid and violent in ways that I wouldn’t have expected–the placement of the burns is wonderfully described.

The rest of the story is strange, though. (more…)

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