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INDIE ROCK

Exclamation point warranted

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May 20, 2008

Los Campesinos!

Hold on Now, Youngster (Arts & Crafts)

ESSENTIAL "Drop It Doe Eyes"

You can learn a lot about a band from the artists it covers. Cardiff, Wales-based septet Los Campesinos! has taken on songs by Bikini Kill and Deerhoof as B-sides to its new single, "My Year in Lists," from its debut album, "Hold on Now, Youngster." These are telling choices. Splashes of riot-girl-flavored punk and experimental-yet-winsome indie-rock are audible in the group's layered sound. Songs boast guy-girl vocals and quirky violin accents over the kind of manic beats you'd expect from a band this addicted to exclamation points. The group shares the archly misfit tone and wild exuberance of fellow Brit exports Art Brut, but these Welsh youngsters have a sweeter innocence. "Death to Los Campesinos!" kicks things off with a wiry guitar riff and hyper vocals backed by a raggedy choir. "Drop it Doe Eyes," sounds like the Peanuts theme bashed out by charismatic indie-rock ruffians. "My Year in Lists" is a fast and furious ode to long-distance love, and "You! Me! Dancing!" is as high-spirited and direct as its title. A welcome throwback to the raw energy of early Kill Rock Star bands, this delirious debut still boasts enough cheeky vigor to sound fresh and new. [Sarah Tomlinson]

Los Campesinos! plays at the Paradise Rock Club tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

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