Los Campesinos!

We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (Arts and Crafts)

You know all those albums that have one great pop single, the one you heard on a TV commercial, and 11 dud tracks? We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed is like a compilation of all those singles. Just two years after forming and less than a year after releasing their debut album, the Welsh band Los Campesinos! has dropped its second full-length disc. And We Are Beautiful sounds hurried, but in a good way—it's a headlong rush of a record, full of spirited melodies, shouted choruses, and energetic eclecticism. The seven members of the band (all of whom use the surname Campesinos!) throw keyboards, glockenspiel, strings, horns, and electronic noise on top of bristling power pop; the effect is sort of like a Belle and Sebastian LP played at 45 rpm. But nothing ever fully drowns out the blistering guitar lines, especially on the sizzling coda to "You'll Need Those Fingers for Crossing" or the soaring chorus of "Documented Minor Breakdown #1" and "All Your Kayfabe Friends," or the consistently pounding rhythm section.

Reasonable standards might have dictated a good edit, but youthful exuberance won out over taste and sense. This is one case of a young band trusting its instincts and getting it right.