The Rodney Dangerfield Award for We Can’t Get No Respect
By Corey Beasley | 11 December 2013
Los Campesinos! :: No Blues
No Blues is Los Campesinos!’s best work since, uh, the band’s last record, the fantastic Hello Sadness. Despite being 2011’s finest collection of guitar gut-punchers, that album didn’t make much of a dent in List World come end-of-year time. Even worse, Los Campesinos! seemed to know its snub was almost a forgone conclusion—the band dropped Hello Sadness in late November, comfortably past the point most of those lists had been solidified, as if it weren’t even worth a shot. No Blues has more of a chance at making a good show this December, but you still shouldn’t expect to see the record’s pink napalm cover art in many top tens, though it belongs there with the best of them.
This is a band that traffics in seriously uncool signifiers: lovelorn lyrics mixed with self-aware wordplay and syntactical games, frontman Gareth’s everyman pubcrawl vocals, the guitar crunch and hook-forward attitude of pop-punk. No matter that Los Campesinos! takes those elements and uses them to create some of the smartest, sharpest, most genuinely affecting pop music in the world; plenty of critics still turn their noses up at that exclamation point. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine Gareth binge-watching Rodney Dangerfield DVDs in a floral Hawaiian shirt, pounding lagers and finding comfort in the fact that this guy, the old dude with the cigar on the screen, gets it. Sorry, lads. There’s always next year, right? Hey, while we’re at it—take my wife, please!