Los Campesinos! to headline Green Mind's birthday gig at the Junction in Cambridge

GENERALLY I m not a big fan of bands with jaunty exclamation marks in their name. Panic! at the disco, The Go! Team, and the like might as well walk around wearing a t-shirt with I m mad me written on the front as far as I m concerned, such is their ove

GENERALLY I'm not a big fan of bands with jaunty exclamation marks in their name.

Panic! at the disco, The Go! Team, and the like might as well walk around wearing a t-shirt with "I'm mad me" written on the front as far as I'm concerned, such is their overt desire to be wacky.

But I make an exception for Los Campesinos! Partly because, unlike the other two acts named, they're actually quite good, and partly because the ! fits entirely with the band's quirky nature.

Formed by six friends at Cardiff University in 2006, the Campesinos! family announced themselves to the world in 2008 with their shambling but adorable debut album Hold on Now Youngster.

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With it's catchy melodies off the wall lyrics (apparently "nothing says I miss you quite poetry carved in your door with a stanley knife"), the album marked the Campesinos! out as a band to watch, and they followed this up later that year with EP We are Beautiful, We are Doomed, a much more coherent, but not less captivating, affair which found Gareth Campesinos sounding more world weary than any twenty-something should.

His mood hasn't improved on new album Romance is Boring, which was released earlier this month.

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Writing on his blog, the singer explained: "It is a record about the death and decay of the human body, sex, lost love, mental breakdown, football and, ultimately, that there probably isn't a light at the end of the tunnel."

Cherry stuff eh? But don't let that put you off, it's a good record, and one that represents a significant progression for the band. Gone are a few of the rough edges that dogged their debut album, and Roman is Boring is a much more focussed record because of it, one which will surely go down as one of the albums of 2010. Tracks such as The Sea is a Good Place to think of the Future and Who Fell Asleep In are already favourites among the groups fans.

So far in their short career they have found more popularity in the USA than in Europe, and Romance is Boring was recorded last summer in Stamford, Conneticut, under the watchful gaze of producer John Goodmanson.

They will be jetting off to the states again after their current UK tour, which began last week. And as part of this tour, Los Campesinos! will play the Cambridge Junction on Sunday February 21. The gig also marks the ninth birthday party of Cambridge-based promoters Green Mind Gigs, and although there may not be cake or jelly, there will be other bands in the form of support acts Swanton Bombs and Islet.

The gig starts at 7pm, and tickets are still available, costing �9. They can be purchased from the Junction box office on 01223 511 511 or www.junction.co.uk.

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