os Campesinos is one of the new bands of 2008 that really has a chance to explode onto the music scene. Whereas most albums that appeal to a wide variety of tastes are calculating shit meant to sell records, Hold on Now, Youngster is a relatively unique album in the genre of typically overly-cute and sentimental indie pop.
The group, a seven-member band from Wales, has all the trappings for a band that would be an absolute aural mess. Violin, glockenspiel and keyboards are all on display with the usual indie rock instrumentation. It's a very easy formula to fuck up. Too-loud guitar, too much violin or poor mixing of the instruments will make songs come across as messy and unfocused. It's a miracle when any band balances it. On tracks like "You! Me! Dancing!" or "My Year in Lists" the philosophy of "less is more" creates a simplistic, but surprisingly layered, pop confection.
Where the musicianship is apt, the lyrics are a surprising element to the album. Singer and glockenspielist Gareth Campesinos' lyrics come across as blog poetry. People may find it indulgent, but given the strong history of Brit bands navel-gazing at their own little bohemian culture--see similar acts like Ballboy or Ten Grand--there's a precedence for these kinds of lyrics. They aren't cloying and are for the most part earnest, which actually complements the music.
Ultimately, Hold on Now, Youngster is for the crowd of young men and women who sit on their computers for days on end looking for the most esoteric musical act and for those that spend their days making shitty YouTube videos of their favourite band's songs. With musical adeptness and clever and entertaining lyrics, this group will definitely be in the running for Best New Band of '08.