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Sunday, April 20, 2008 

I am not embarrassed

Given the age and critical milieu I grew up in, I am deeply suspicious of overt enthusiasm on the part of writers about bands. When I read old criticism, it seems fine; reading Jon Savage or Lester Bangs or whoever writing about how this band is different, this one is World Historical, etc, etc, seems legitimate, and not even because history has proved them right (it only has some of the time, of course).

So even the bands I love the most, I have tended to try and remain level headed about, in print; if you look at two high scoring, very enthusiastic reviews for my favourite record of 2007 and one of my favourites of 2008 at Stylus (here and here), the difference between them and my new PopMatters review of Hold On Now, Youngster... is pretty severe.

Not that I don't love Low and Sam Amidon as well, but something about Los Campesinos! and their music makes me feel like a believer, like a fan in a way nothing else really does. It makes me feel kind of exposed (let's face it, there is probably no one out there waiting to nail my ass to the wall for saying "I believe in this band," and even if someone wanted to, there's really no grounds to), but it feels good too. Just don't expect all my reviews to be this enthusiastic.

Ian -

nice piece on Hold On Now. Though I still disagree with your conclusion, your use of "Faith" makes sense; I've tried my best to test your belief and shake its foundations, but have yet to break through. Your unflappable.

I was glad to see you touch on "the role of the critic" in the second paragraph. I hope you will expand on it now that your thesis is gilded and enshrined in the hallowed halls of higher learning.

Maybe, maybe... I never plan these things, they just come out sometimes!

And thanks - my dad actually just bought me a real copy of the album, so I can't see my love getting any more shakeable soon.

Could it be that there's someone more evangelical than me about Los Campesinos! out there?!

It's possible!

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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