'Hello Sadness' is the fourth offering from Cardiff rockers Los Campesinos, apparently recorded following the end of a relationship that resulted in the rewriting of the album from a completely new grief stricken perspective. Whether there is any truth in this statement is irrelevant as the LP sounds incredibly fresh in comparison to previous releases. It is their poppiest record to date, however it is extremely coherent by comparison, representative of the band clearly coordinating in one direction.
Despite it's melancholy subject matter the album rolls along at a superb pace, beginning with the excellent single 'By Your Hand' that is a definitive singalong anthem complete with rhythmic hand claps and layered levels of instrumental complimenting singer Gareth's poetry. The lamentation aspect of the album is intrinsicly tangled with tuneful composition that feels much like a regurgitation of grief in the face of emotional adversity. The title track of the album 'Hello Sadness' embodies this perfectly each versing building to a warm and emotional crescendo; Gareth's poetry is at its best here as he sings "a wish-bone hangs between your breasts/I hope you haven't pulled it yet/and this little finger doesn't have the strength/and I'm scared that this bird's backbone breaks".
Conversely the album can border on the pretentious side of misery. These moments tend to coordinate when the guitar, keyboards and drums drain from the track leaving the focus on Gareth's vocals - for example: "this one family photograph always floats to the top/like a beaming corpse that hadn't been made-up/my memories are seepier the photograph is not". Combined the Campesino's vocal style which shakey, indy, mockney tones can border on irritatingly dated make this side of the album stand out like a sore thumb.
However the instances are few and far between, 'Hello Sadness' is a slickly coordinating offering that feels as fresh as its impromptu beginnings. It might suffer in it's most minimalist moments but they are few and far between. Where it succeeds is tapping brilliantly into a musical representation of the emotional rollercoaster birthed by severance from a loved one - complete with all the ups and downs.