If a single moment is capable of defining a band, for Los Campesinos!, that moment occurs during a brief passage halfway through “I Broke Up In Amarante.” A fly-on-the-wall document of frontman Gareth Paisley’s mental health struggles during the recording of their new album, Sick Scenes, the track is rattling towards its heartening conclusion when Paisley’s voice suddenly drops away as he says, “Nah, you’re going to have to help me out here” and the gang-like vocals of the rest of band take up the mantle. It’s the aural equivalent of dragging someone through the final few meters of a marathon, a very human moment that encapsulates the spirit of togetherness that has seemingly pushed Los Campesinos! through hurdles that might have finished off other bands.
Sick Scenes, the band’s sixth album, is a weighty addition to the group’s catalog of fervent guitar-pop. Having left their label in the wake of previous LP, No Blues, the band took a step-back to try and define who they were and what they were doing. The result is a heartening and resolute record that really couldn’t have been made by anyone else.
We spoke to frontman Gareth Paisley about the backdrop to Sick Scenes; those aforementioned hurdles, the mental health struggles that informed it, and why they believe in themselves more than ever before.