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Vampire weekend return for their newest full-length since 2013's 'Modern Vampires Of The City', this time choosing to go further down the Americana route hinted at on their first LP. We kick things off with the acoustic-heavy duo of 'Hold You Now' and 'Harmony Hall', the former stripping back everything to vox and guitar, accentuated with airy vocal samples and lo-fi hissing only to bring in a choral accompaniment, knocking things into grand orchestral territory. The latter of the two flits between melodic piano and insistent percussion, all accentuated with perfectly phased vocals and flickering acoustic guitar. The technique of stripping things back only to bring it all back in is not a new idea, but the way it's handled here is beautifully done, with filter fades and instrumental shifts clearly highlighting the differing sections without resorting to the usual verse-chorus tropes.
Move things along a little and we get a bit of synthpop atmospherics ('Unbelievably White'), plaintive jazzy progressions ('My Mistake') and funky angular soul ('Sunflower'), whilst still retaining the underlying sound that makes Vampire Weekend unique. At the heart of things, we still have the same playful progressions and flickering momentum of their earlier work (along with that unmistakeable vocal style and harmonic accompaniment), but brought up to date with a more mature outlook and delicate balance between beautiful harmony and patchwork construction of sound. Brilliantly inventive and warmingly original, this is Vampire Weekend but brought into the present.
Barry says: Vampire Weekend have always stood out from the crowd with their own particular brand of dreamy melodic indie, characterised by rapid changes in direction and richly textured instrumental passages. What we have here is a classic distillation of their sound, spread across a hefty 18 tracks. It was well worth the wait.
1. "Hold You Now"
2. "Harmony Hall"
4. "This Life"
5. "Big Blue" 1:48
6. "How Long?" 3:32
7. "Unbearably White" 4:40
8. "Rich Man" 2:29
9. "Married In A Gold Rush" (featuring Danielle Haim) 3:42
10. "My Mistake" 3:18
11. "Sympathy" 3:46
12. "Sunflower" (featuring Steve Lacy) 2:17
13. "Flower Moon" (featuring Steve Lacy) 3:57
14. "2021" 1:38
15. "We Belong Together" (featuring Danielle Haim) 3:10
16. "Stranger" 4:08
17. "Spring Snow" 2:41
18. "Jerusalem, New York, Berlin"