Los Campesinos magnificently prove that youth isn't always wasted on the young: We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed is the British band's second album this year, following up the unstoppably energetic, endlessly entertaining Hold On Now Youngster. Unsurprisingly, it's mostly more of the same—which in this case is a high compliment. The two releases will inevitably be compared, and the edge goes to Youngster, but just barely. Beautiful is the product of sessions with producer John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Blonde Redhead) that were aiming to get some good B-sides together, but clearly the songs and more muscular recording couldn't be relegated to that fate; instead, they're being released as a limited-edition deluxe CD/DVD/badge/booklet set—charmingly perfect for a band obsessed with K Records' twee-yet-rough-edged DIY style.
But all of that is less important than the songs, of course, and this new pack is smart, immediate, and anthemic in the way only bedroom-pop fanatics can muster. The title track is one of the band's best yet: It's a layered, glowing display of that intersection between total confidence and utter self-doubt. Singer Gareth Campesino (no, that isn't his real last name) is an ace wordsmith at just 22, and the song climaxes with the sing-along, "We kid ourselves there's future in the fucking / but there is no fucking future." There might not be for Los Campesinos—energy this bright can only burn for so long—but hopefully it'll remain this amazing while it lasts.