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Hold On Now, Youngster

Hold On Now, Youngster is the proverbial promising debut, brimming with attitude, ideas and oomph. We await their next move with interest.

Rating: 8 / 10

The Hot Press Newsdesk, 12 Mar 2008

Fifteen years ago Los Campesinos (‘The Peasants’ in Spanish) would have been a shoo-in for a six month residency as Melody Maker/Select/NME cover stars, a spunky Cardiff seven-piece all sharing the same surname and radiating oodles of energy and sarky intelligence. It speaks volumes about the decline of the UK music press and the fragmentation of the industry that the band’s modestly audacious debut may at best secure them primacy on MTV 2 and a spot halfway down this year’s festival bills.

They deserve more, because despite the ensemble’s occasionally overbearing air of student superiority, they’ve got more fresh ideas packed in per three minutes than most of the current crop of debutantes can manage in an album. The sound is all post punk guitar shapes, Charles ‘n’ Kim call and response vocal lines, the kind of lyrical nous more commonly found in Kate Nash or The Streets than generic indie-kids, and an irresistable sense of forward impetus. Few of the songs dip below the 100 bpm mark, with flurries of melodies and counter melodies that suggest The Wannadies after a couple of semesters spent in the Uni bar. Add to this a ream of titles that are postively Smithsian in their archness (how about ‘This Is How You Spell “HaHaHa, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams Of A Generation of Faux-Romantics”’? No? Try ‘Drop It Doe Eyes’ or ‘…And We Exhale And Roll Our Eyes In Unison’).

All of which might be a bit much if not for the gorgeous instrumentation, with strings and celeste augmenting the standard rehearsal room format. At times the arrangements are elaborate to the point of Arcade-ian, albeit with a strict econo-pop sensibility and parochial wit tempering any inclinations towards the epic.

Hold On Now, Youngster is the proverbial promising debut, brimming with attitude, ideas and oomph. Sure, upstart impudence can only get you so far, but we await their next move with interest.

Key track: ‘Death To Los Campesinos’

Rating: 8 / 10
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