Crack in the Road

It is unusual for Crack in the Road to have seemingly ignored an album such as Hello Sadness for so long after its release, two weeks ago I believe. Being a band who have been integral to growth of this website, featuring in a handful of live reviews and interviews, any release from Los Campesinos! is always hotly anticipated. Yet I can’t help feeling that our lack of urgency in reviewing their third LP is down to the relatively mediocre quality of the record. If Hello Sadness was truly dreadful it would have been snapped up by us just as quick as had it been a revolutionary album, however it sidles along somewhere in the murky in-between. That said, one aspect that must be praised is the admirably innovative nature of  the concluding few songs.

Hello Sadness announces itself with a whimper as opposed to a bang, with the fairly lacklustre By Your Hand, which even after several listens appears to lack depth. It is by all accounts a drastic change from what we’re accustomed to from Los Campesinos!, and I for one assumed their recent success with the Budweiser TV commercial and increased radio exposure would have pointed their sonic masts in the direction of mainstream recognition. Other reviews I have read justify this change as the band ‘maturing’, but there’s a subtle difference in gaining a new-found level of understanding and perception, and simply providing a watered down version of previous outings. Songs such as their cover of C is the Heavenly Option and You, Me Dancing were personal favourites of mine and seem like a distant memory when compared to the majority of their new material. I for one would have understood them creating a ‘dark’ album, as it appears to be in vogue currently with artists of a similar ilk, if only it were executed better.

The first song that really strikes a chord with me isn’t found until seven tracks in, with The Black Bird, the Dark Slope, showcasing the first real introduction of female vocals on Hello Sadness coming to the fore, after 6 previous songs consisting primarily of Gareth experiment with lower vocals. This is a pleasant surprise, despite the morbidity of the lyrics themselves, an example being ‘The black bird feasts upon my guts and bears its beak to fight’. I suppose I look on this song favourably as it reminds me so much of their old stuff, with the same twee-pop vibe they had not only mastered but finely tuned in previous releases.

The only other song that protrudes it’s head above the battlements of mediocrity is the penultimate song on the album, Baby I Got the Death Rattle. Primarily due to the distortion of Gareth’s voice entwining mercilessly with the dark subject matter and confusing nature of the instruments and effects.

Overall, it’s a disappointing attempt at ‘maturing’, if that was indeed the path they had intended to traverse. As a full release, Hello Sadness appears hurried and disjointed; a shame for all of the fans who enjoyed hearing some light-hearted pop treats every now and again when listening to their mp3 players on shuffle. However, I will keep my ears open for future releases and keep hoping they return to the days of Hold on now Youngster… and We are Beautiful, We are Doomed. It is unusual for Crack in the Road to have ignored an album such as Hello Sadness for so long after its release, 2 weeks ago I believe. However there is a good reason for this, its pretty mediocre… It is unusual for Crack in the Road to have ignored an album such as Hello Sadness for so long after its release, 2 weeks ago I believe. However there is a good reason for this, its pretty mediocre… It is unusual for Crack in the Road to have ignored an album such as Hello Sadness for so long after its release, 2 weeks ago I believe. However there is a good reason for this, its pretty mediocre… It is unusual for Crack in the Road to have ignored an album such as Hello Sadness for so long after its release, 2 weeks ago I believe. However there is a good reason for this, its pretty mediocre… It is unusual for Crack in the Road to have ignored an album such as Hello Sadness for so long after its release, 2 weeks ago I believe. However there is a good reason for this, its pretty mediocre… It is unusual for Crack in the Road to have ignored an album such as Hello Sadness for so long after its release, 2 weeks ago I believe. However there is a good reason for this, its pretty mediocre…