Roomfuls of Vacuum, Roomfuls of Air

Just back from Los Campesinos! who… well, remain a sort of iconic and useful band for me, in many ways. New material sounds interesting. Old stuff sounds furious. Gareth remains the angriest xylophone player on the planet. But aside from all that, there was a genuinely strange moment I have to write about.

I’ve mentioned in passing that there’s a couple of things which I wrote which Gareth appropriated – with permission – for lyrics before. The title of the second album is paraphrased from my description of them in an end-of-year write up and a line from Phonogram 1.1 (“A room full of vaccuum and a room full of air look the same”) is put to task in a particularly shouty section of opener “Ways To Make It Through The Wall”. Which always brings a smile to myself when I hear it, just because it’s so odd – and what Gareth does with it is very different from what I used with Kohl, openly defiant rather than the first part where old David even appears vaguely human.

Anyway – it’s a different thing to hear it sung live. Los Camp! fans are passionate. Lyrics are screamed out. Glancing to one side and seeing dozens of faces howling something which I abstractly wrote… well… there’s a couple of responses. Firstly, it’s a tiny moment of alienation – like I imagine (say) Chic feel when they hear something they created lifted and repurposes. As in, you recognise the craft and recognise that it’s part of something you did – but it’s also something else. Secondly, there’s the part that’s fuckinghelltheyaresingingsomeshitIwrote. Which is… well, I suspect it’s the closest I’ve ever felt to feeling like bloody Bono or something. It’s powerful and odd and direct, and I can see how people who get it every night, from every single line of every single song go proper mental so often. God know what Gareth feels like.