Fever Pitch: Los Campesinos! an indie band for all seasons
It's hard to remember the landscape in which Los Campesinos! first emerged back in 2007. Their peers were a selection of haircuts who seemed destined for nothing more than a Saturday morning on the Soccer AM sofa having some brief back-and-forth with Tim Lovejoy.
Los Campesinos! weren't built for that world. They were more suited to the coach trip back from the football match, brain space occupied by the stupidity of young love, yet distraught at another away loss.
Los Campesinos! frontman Gareth Paisey is one of the directors at Welton Rovers and his band's music is for the 'wet Tuesday at the West Clewes' of the heart.
The band's recently released fifth album, No Blues, sees them do as they've always done: grow up without growing older.
Considering Gareth's recent work with Paul Heaton, we can safely say that Los Campesinos! have passed their Housemartins days and are now fully into their Beautiful South years.
"I think we definitely know more now what we want to achieve and how to go about trying to achieve it," says guitarist and songwriter Tom.
"I think in the past we've mistakenly assumed that progress as a band simply meant becoming as technically complex as possible, but now we've come to terms with our musical inadequacy," he jokes.
"So with this album we wanted it to be super melodic, but with arrangements that enhance rather than cloud those melodies, while also bringing in new textures, new sounds.
"Something like Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World via Clams Casino seemed like a funny enough starting point to run with."
But while the music has become more focused, more direct, the lyrical content of the album seems to have become more obtuse, harder to penetrate.
While the young Los Campesinos! were happy to go dancing in public fountains, No Blues begins with an invocation of the flooding of Capel Celyn and ends with a swan dive into a river.
It's as unglamourous an end imaginable, a light year away from the traditional suicide-on-wax of teen angst. It's the self-termination of the professional.
"We'd spent a lot of time in the months leading up to recording deciding if we should continue with the band at all," says Tom.
"Trying to make everything work financially is a real struggle.
"When we finally got into the studio to record, there was a definite surge of relief. That 'nothing to lose' mentality ended up defining the album."
While the group's usual preoccupations – death, drinking and listless sex – are all present and correct, football takes the foreground. Name-checks of the beautiful game pierce through this album.
Gareth said: "We've always attracted the frail indie kids as well as grown-arsed, beer-bellied men, mirroring the transition I've undergone during the course of the band, I guess. But this is a strength of Los Campesinos! Those disparities are why we're interesting. And also why we've made it to five albums despite zero commercial success."
Zero commercial success? While the previously mentioned haircut bands that used to be their peers have fallen into obscurity, Los Campesinos! are still defiantly here. They're a band who've developed from cuts on their knees from dancing all night through to cuts on their knees from sliding tackles, and No Blues is an album for the survivor.
"I couldn't have maintained the gloom of our last record," says Gareth. "So we're smiling now, even if it is through bloodied, broken teeth."
No Blues sees the band in optimistic voice – an optimism Paisey shares for Welton Rovers.
He said earlier this season: "It's a real honour to become a director at the football club I have supported all my life.
"It's a long road ahead for the club but in my lifetime I want to see Welton emulate the successes my elder relatives have been privileged enough to witness, and return to their rightful place as Western League king-pins."
No Blues is out now through Wichita Recordings and Los Campesinos! are on tour around the UK in December ... Welton Rovers are at home to Wincanton Town on Saturday.