Los Campesinos! is an indie pop sextet from Cardiff. I’ve written about them a couple of times before. Herein 2012, and here last year. Since 2006, they’ve released five proper albums, a few EPs, and a bunch of singles. They’ve shuffled the lineup a few times and have shrunk from nine members to six. In 2012, bassist Ellen Waddell, who was a founding member, left the band. It was devastating news to fans, and she was probably more gutted than any fan. She left a long, emotional note on the band’s tumblr, and she played her final show with them on December 15 of that year. In the note, she asked fans not to point out her tears, but to regard them as “eye sweat”. She left to pursue her dream of becoming “a failed writer”. She writes fiction and screen plays. She also has a one-woman semi-autobiographical show called “Jean-Luc Picard and Me” about an obsessed Star Trek fan who uses lessons learned from Star Trek to navigate real-world obstacles.
There was naturally some fear that Ellen’s departure would make the band worse, but they found a way to carry on. Last year’s No Blues was a good record that just barely missed my year-end list.
Everybody knows that I don’t enjoy Christmas music. I don’t like “traditional” Christmas music, I don’t like modern interpretations of traditional Christmas songs, and with a few exceptions, I don’t like new-fangled Christmas songs. Last year, I wrote a post about how there were five “Christmas” songs from the 1990s that I really like. Four of them originals, and a Cocteau Twins cover of “Frosty The Snowman”. You can read that post here.
This year, Los Campesinos! have made a Christmas EP with five original songs and one cover. A couple of the originals have been around for a couple of years, and the others are brand new. The songs all have some Christmas imagery, and they’re naturally packed with the signature LC! snark. Christmas isn’t only about puppy dogs, warm cups of cocoa, and brand new luxury sedans in the driveway. There’s also some heartache and sorrow. That’s life. These are songs about love and lust. Because it’s a LC! record, there are obligatory references to booze, nudity, sex, and also to vomiting. You know…. Christmas! The EP was released this week via iTunes, but today’s song was shared publicly almost a month ago. I’ve spent a lot of time with this song
“When Christmas Comes” by Los Campesinos!
It’s got all the textbook LC! stuff. The coed vocals from Gareth and Kim. The chanting in the chorus. The glockenspiel. The big percussion. The big hooks. It’s just a glorious pop song.
There’s the classic LC! hopeless romantic notion
Audition for ass end of horse in village pantomime
just to hear your voice calling from the back
and the classic LC! sexy bit:
A dream of you stood naked as Christmas tree,
left unattended ’til second week of February.
In the morning, you’re lying next to me
Covered in gold, stole from nativity
I really love that line “naked as a Christmas tree left unattended til second week of February”.
This is, by a long way, my favorite song on the EP, but I also like the others. They made a very limited run of vinyl, and it sold out immediately. You should buy a digital copy from the iTunes store.