I'd heard bits and pieces from the Welsh group Los Campesinos! (yes, with an exclamation point) a while back, but I just now got my hands on their thrilling indie pop EP, Sticking Fingers Into Sockets. These kids from Cardiff are danceable goodness, sounding as if Bis had babies with Arcade Fire. Remember Bis? If not, get on the interwebs and look 'em up, as they were awesome.
The EP was produced by Broken Social Scene's David Newfeld, which makes sense when you look at Campesinos' lineup. The band consists of seven members, so having somebody familiar with working in a large ensemble behind the board was a very wise decision. The results are six songs of bouncy, high-energy indie pop with all the handclaps and glockenspiel your body can handle.
"We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives" kicks things off with a singsong chorus and a Streets-ish rap bit by frontman Gareth Campesinos. The overly thick British accent is nicely complemented by the sweet female vocals of Aleksandra Campesinos. Yes, each band member has Campesinos as a last name. It is bubble gum pop with a nice bite, kind of like those sour gummy worm candies. They're sweet yet sour and pretty damn delicious.
It is a bold move for a relatively new group to tackle covering an iconic alt-rock band such as Pavement, but these lads decided to record their own version of "Frontwards." Although this could have ended up as a disaster, it is actually quite a fun violin-filled pop track balanced by alternating boy/girl vocals. This takes us to the best track on the album, "You! Me! Dancing!" After thirty seconds or so of strumming guitars, the strings come in, picking up the tempo gradually until they explode into one of the best bits of pop you'll hear this summer. Jangly guitars, glockenspiel and violins give way to a sunny melody that should easily put a smile on your face.
The tracks are a bit sloppy, but that is actually a part of their charm. These kids are just having a damn good time, making music that is an unexpectedly infectious treat. Los Campesinos! are a bit twee, yet their indie roots help keep that in check. Now go get yourself a nice big eardrum hug by giving this great EP a listen.