Los Campesinos!: All's Well That Ends EP

Los Campesinos! proves they're capable of calming down on their latest EP.

Los Campesinos!

All's Well That Ends EP

Label: Wichita
US Release Date: Import
UK Release Date: 2010-07-19

With the departure of original drummer Ollie Campesinos! under hazy circumstances, it's tempting to believe this four song EP is something of a goodbye. The music is low key, a comparative solemn whisper when held up against the band's previous output. It's called All's Well That Ends, which can't help.

A recent blog post by the band indicates otherwise, of course. These four re-worked tracks from their recent album, Romance Is Boring are merely a pause while Los Campesinos! considers its next move.

No one could ever accuse Los Campesinos! of sitting still. The prolific band released a pair of albums in a single year, another one year later and maybe ten thousand EPs, singles and random tracks which if nothing else show the merits of collectively focused ADD. And they're all pretty good, especially if fey indie pop delivered wryly is your thing.

On paper it seems an odd notion. Los Campesinos! so often feels as though they're fueled by amphetamines chased down with double espressos, so it's difficult to imagine what might happen when the buzz wears off. All's Well That Ends is what happens, a brief but alluring collection which shows there's more to the band's appeal than pure, unbridled energy.

As a frontman, Gareth Campesinos! has always come off like a snotty parochial schoolboy, a Frankenstein's monster cobbled together from the most irritating pieces all the kids from William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Only he makes it work.

Keeping that image in mind on the EP's opening track, "Romance is Boring (Princess Version)", Gareth's voice is nearly a whisper, as though heard from just outside a fourth floor bedroom as he plots some sadistic scheme. Midway through the number, though, and the whole thing nearly comes undone. The band, acoustic and stripped down, don't know what to do with themselves. It's as though they tossed the version off without considering what might happen when it all gets crazy.

Much more successful is "Letters From Me to Charlotte (RSVP)", which lends itself well to the contemplative pace, the soft harmonies offsetting the harsh verses, the fiddle. "Straight in at 101/It's Never Enough" works as well, pretty much for the same reasons, plus its awkward heavy petting and frustrated inner monologue may actually work even better than in its electrified album version.

"(All's Well That Ends) In Medias Res" proves a more than worthy finish, with piano joining the fiddle and harmonies. Where Los Campesinos!' warmth ordinarily comes from mania, here it's based in sincerity. It's a lovely surprise, one which gently erases the EP's early misstep and brings it all together.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.