Label: Wichita/Arts & Crafts Release date: 26/01/10 (US), 01/02/10 (UK) Website: Official Website Romance Is Boring is Pet Sounds for a generation of kids who used to have Livejournals. It is the kind of record that floors you, that kicks you in the face until you forget everything else. For the next 48 minutes, you do not pretend you like The Shaggs. You don’t care if you don’t really understand what Dubstep is. The state of the UK music scene no longer bothers you. You are a vulnerable child in the face of the honesty and openness that pours from this record. This is life affirming stuff. Dear every other pop band ever: the bar has just been raised. Los Campesinos! have always been something of a bunch of cynics. From their earliest singles, they’ve been fed up with parties and bored of music. Their debut album is full of songs about rolling eyes, destroyed hopes and broken hearts, but everything was seemingly done with a cheeky, knowing wink. In less than twelve months, however, their second full length record (that technically isn’t an album, but totally is) was released in a blaze of destructive fury and far better songs that made the titleWe Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed perfectly apt. Romance Is Boring seems to fit somewhere between their two previous records in terms of attitude – still as cynical, self deprecating and brutally honest as WAB, WAD, and at times even more so, but with some of the light heartedness of Hold On Now, Youngster... retained for good measure. Musically, however, there is no regression in sight. This time, they are thinking so much bigger. Although the buzzing synths that kick in after mere seconds of opening track ‘In Medias Res’ sound so typically Los Campesinos! that you’d guess it was them from a mile away, it’s obvious after not much longer that they have no intention of playing it safe and sounding typical. ‘Let’s talk about you for a minute’, spits Gareth by way of introduction, more direct than ever. The strings flare up. The glockenspiel takes centre stage for a few glorious seconds. Before too long, horns kick in for the first time on an LC! album and the band has never sounded so full, so strong, or so beautiful and the song fades out with the question of ‘if you were given the option/of dying painlessly in peace at forty-five/but with a lover by your side/after a full and happy life/is this something that would interest you?/would this interest you at all?’ before bursting full pelt in the chirpy ‘bah-bahs!’ of ‘These Are Listed Buildings’. And this is how the thing fucking STARTS. Every song is a gem. ‘Plan A’s distorted punk rock fury shows the band at the angriest they have ever been, whereas ‘Straight In At 101’ cheekily likens crap sex to dull music with the line ‘I think we need more post-coital/and less post-rock/feels like the build up takes forever/but you never get me off’ before piling on boy/girl vocal harmonies and giddily high-pitched gang vocals and crashing to a halt, leaving Gareth singing completely desolately and alone. ‘Who Fell Asleep In’ meanders along, slowly building and building, whilst ‘The Sea Is A Good Place To Think About The Future’ plows along as relentlessly as crashing waves. The album’s highlights are, however, towards the end: ‘I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed. Just So You Know’ starts out noisy and frantic, but turns in to the most beautifully epic song the band have ever written, and the power that Los Campesinos’s vocalists have is perfectly shown in the way that they can make my whole body shiver with the simple line ‘please just let me be the one that keeps track/of the freckles and the moles on your back’. ‘A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State; Or, Letters From Me To Charlotte’, on the other hand, is exactly how pop music should sound. I can’t tell you how hard writing this review has been. Part of me wants to describe every aspect of this record in minute detail, and part of me wants to say nothing so you can discover every single amazing moment for yourself. I hate to exaggerate, but I think this is probably one of the best records ever made, and possibly the defining pop record of our generation. I can’t remember the last time I sat up all night playing something ten times in a row, then still listening to it constantly for weeks without tiring of it. It contains some of the most honest song writing I have ever heard. It is beautiful. It is strong, assured, mature and powerful. It is perfect. Forget what you know about Los Campesinos!. Forget what you know about music. Fuck, forget what you know about yourself and everything else you’ve ever known, because this record really is just that good. Rating: 10/10. I would give it more if I could.