Los Campesinos! are a band that can do no wrong. Since the release of ‘Hold on Now, Youngster’, way back in 2007, the band has gone on to make four further LPs, and a smattering of EPs released through bi-annual fanzines. The band has, for the past few years, released a Christmas song, and the three that have been seen previously (‘A Doe to a Deer’, ‘Kindle a Flame in her Heart’ & ‘The Holly and the Ivy’) are all present, alongside the brilliant single ‘When Christmas Comes’, the melancholic ‘Trains don’t Run (It’s Christmas Day)’ and a maudlin cover of Mud’s ‘Lonely this Christmas’. It is, quite frankly, a Christmas EP which contains quality, rather than the half-baked covers collections which are usually brought out to fill stockings at Christmas time.
Fans of Los Campesinos! will know the strength of singer Gareth Paisey’s lyrics, which are Morrissey-esque in their delivery, and on this EP, the songs showcase what a brilliant lyricist Paisey is. Take ‘A Doe to a Deer’, which contains the fantastic couplet; “I’ll be anything you want of me, carrot nose encased in snow/an angel, teetering atop a tree, vomiting from vertigo.’ The wry, self-depreciating nature which Paisey excels at is most evident on ‘When Christmas Comes’, which sees him having “Wished away the last year…audition for ass end of horse in village pantomime”. There is a reason this band are loved by so many, and it must be great to hear these lyrics sung back at the band.
The EP ends with the Mud cover, which sees the band put their own spin on the Christmas Classic and emphasise the pathos which is buried below the bells and chimes of the original. Paisey draws the emotion out of the track, and the band create a sonic soundscape which reflects the sombreness. It is hard to imagine the song without it sung by the Elvis-aping Les Gray, but the band do enough to make their version their own. For fans of Los Campesinos!, this will be an EP which will get an airing every Christmas time, and will become part of their tradition. For non-fans, they will find much to love here away from the glitter and tinsel nature of the usually Christmas fayre.