Listening to Los Campesinos!, I try to imagine what they look like. The male voice definitely belongs to someone with big eyes that take up half his head and long, narrow limbs that extend outward more than downward. He is pigeon-toed and his chest cavity is concave. He unironically wears sweaters with kittens on them. His British accent is the kind of British accent that originates where Mother Goose was born.
It's basically the very picture of twee, in all of its childlike, sparkly glory, which is why it's so off-putting when the Camps say the word "horny" or talk about mercy killings. It's not necessarily unpleasant, but it catches your ear and reminds you that, no, you aren't listening to music made by children—you are listening to music made by grown-ups who may be cute but still have grown-up problems.
So the songs are all full of glockenspiels (it sounds like someone must play only glockenspiel), high-pitched guitar lines, and traded male and female vocals, and yes, K Records is invoked. But it's not all Field Mice and rainbows—there are songs about love bonds broken and stomach-churning insincerity. In "Knee Deep at ATP," the subject is grammar: "And for each correctly used apostrophe/I could feel my heart sink inside my chest in front of me." The lyrics are sometimes a bit labored, but they're often pleasantly lost in the huge melee of strings and bells and that one boy singer's wacky accent.
If you got super into early Architecture in Helsinki (before they caught the ragga bug), this record will satisfy your longing needs for adorability, and it's quite good for reading a book in the park on a breezy day.
Los Campesinos! play Sat May 31, Neumo's, 8 pm, $12, all ages. With Parenthetical Girls.