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VAMPIRE WEEKEND

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. 

STAFF COMMENTS

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.

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xColoured LP Info: Orange double vinyl.

Vampire Weekend

Modern Vampires Of The City

Vampire Weekend’s third album is ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’, released on XL Recordings.

When asked in interviews about the new record, the band have been guarded in describing it, but have stated the album is darker and warmer, saying in Triple J Magazine that “this is our most American album” and citing New York City at night as inspiration for the new sound. The band told interviewer Zan Roew that they focused on “good songwriting”, saying “we wanted the songs to just be amazing”, working towards a sound in which “something that sounds traditional and maybe something that seems modern come together and it feels natural.”

The cover art is a 1966 photograph by Neal Boenzi of the smoggiest day in New York City history, on which the air pollution killed at least 169 people.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: Standard black vinyl edition.

Vampire Weekend

Contra

    Some bands stay in a holding pattern their whole careers. Others jerk the steering wheel hard and fly off the road. On their second album, Vampire Weekend do neither. Or maybe they do both. “I think we sound more like Vampire Weekend than we did on the first record,” says drummer Christopher Tomson.

    "Contra" pulls off a series of impressive feats: It’s bustling with fresh ideas and yet it sounds immediately familiar; it’s heavily layered but taut and kinetic; it chews ravenously through sound palettes and rhythms, and yet it’s nimble and assured; it’s still breezy, and yet it smolders with a newfound emotional heft. “It’s sadder than the first one, a bit more sentimental,” says singer Ezra Koenig. The songs are catchy, fast, twinkling, clattering – the darker themes of loss, doubt and regret accumulate almost imperceptibly, but they land a powerful blow.


    Dealing in genres the band have dubbed 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa' and 'Upper West Side Soweto', Vampire Weekend is a breath of fresh air, both musically and lyrically, with this New York band endeavouring to make music that is anything but straight ahead rock. This is indie-rock that isn't indie-rock, a joyously exuberant carnival of melody and rhythm. Strings. Organs. Afro-funk guitars. Courtly 18th century harpsichord. A bit of post-punk (maybe Franz Ferdinand crossed with the Bhundu Boys?). Lyrics about grammar and architecture and preferred bus routes and the British Imperial origins of American preppie fashion. With fleet-footed pizzazz Vampire Weekend deploy all these to craft a tinglingly refreshing sound. Anyone for brainy party music?


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