Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Los Campesinos!: Hold on Now, Youngster . . . [Arts & Crafts, 2008]
The first words on the first proper album by these giddy, frantic, proudly hyperintelligent Welsh music snobs: "Broken down like a war economy." The seventh title: "This Is How You Spell 'Hahaha, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics.'" Only they're so giddy and frantic it's impossible to believe they're broken down with no hopes or dreams. They're merely hyperintelligent enough to know that holding on won't get any easier, and strong-minded enough to know that they'd better get a grip right now--or at least a head start as they leap toward heaven or into the abyss. Like their exclamation-pointed siblings the Go! Team, only with the better songs you'd expect of theoretical dance-pop that emphasizes the second half of the fusion, they believe! A glockenspiel in a guitar band? Freshens up the sound, they think. And they're right. A