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CD Review: Los Campesinos!'s We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

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The Deal: Sophomore album from seven-piece outfit from Wales.

The Good: The band's first album was released in February of last year and the group decided to quickly release a follow-up of new material. You have to respect that kind of production, though the album is short (see The Bad, below). I like the dichotomy and balance that having a male, Garreth, and female, Aleksandra, singer provides. They offer more of an alternating, complimentary see-saw setup instead of trying to find the harmonies. There are also moments of full-band chorus, such as in "Miserabilia." The band's sound might be called pop – elements of '80s synth, combined with more of an indie rock sound, layered with moments of strings and a bit of quirkiness a la They Might Be Giants. There's also a DVD included in some editions that is a bit of a documentary/behind the scenes look at live performances.

The Bad: The 10 songs clock in at just over 32 minutes – where's the rest of it? The first verse of the first song almost made me cringe – I was worried that the accents were going to get on my nerves – but moments later I was sucked into the music and any concerns were washed away. I could have done without the minute-15-second instrumental "Between an Erupting Earth and an Exploding Sky."

The Verdict: Like so many good albums, it left me wanting more. I can hear why it appeared on so many top-10 lists for 2008.

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