It's possibly fair to say that 'No Blues' sees Los Campesinos! at their most content since their enthusiastic debut 'Hold On Now, Youngster' back in 2008. Since then, the band has lost four of its founding members but they seem to have finally found a happier footing - 'No Blues' is perhaps their most cohesive effort yet, with a couple of particular highlights.
Opening track 'For Flotsam' starts the album off in triumphant fashion, drums crashing and gang vocal melodies a-happening. It's a pattern that continues through and the kineticism of the record is hard to escape - a testament to the co-production from John Goodmanson and Tom Campesinos. At least in the instrumentation, there seems to be a consistently uplifting nature to 'No Blues'. The lyrics, as ever, remain slightly obtuse. Especially if you don't know much about football.
Luckily I know a bit about the sport, which is why lyrics like "we connected like a Yeboah volley" (on the understated 'Glue Me'...gloomy...geddit) exact a certain gleeful nostalgia and understanding. It's not all soccerball though - on the same track, Gareth fits in a King Creosote/Fence Records reference, "Draw me like one of your fence girls, stood erect as a post, head to toe in creosote". Which is apparently also a reference to "draw me like one of your French girls" from 'Titanic'. It's hard to keep up with this lot, sometimes.
Prior to the album's release, the band unveiled two tracks - 'What Death Leaves Behind' and 'Avocado, Baby'. Both tracks rank highly in the Los Campesinos! back catalogue, and these triumphant pop-leaning efforts arguably overshadow the remainder of the record. Yet the other tracks fit rather nicely together, and it's easy to settle in to 'No Blues' in much the same manner that Los Campesinos! seem to have settled into a slightly new and welcome outlook.
Find more info at loscampesinos.com.