Vampire Weekend’s third album is titled Modern Vampires Of The City, and it will be released in the US by XL Recordings on May 14th. The band will head out on tour surrounding the album’s release. The tour dates are listed below, and include shows in London and Paris, and the previously announced Coachella Festival. The band will also perform in Austin at SXSW and tape an episode ... Read more in Amazon's Vampire Weekend Store
Second studio album by the critically-acclaimed American indie rock band. The album debuted at #1 in the Uk Albums Chart and includes the singles 'Cousins', 'Giving Up the Gun', 'Holiday' and 'White Sky'.
Some reviews of "Contra" have come with the qualification that Vampire Weekend's second album is not the fun packed neo African rhythm monster of their infectious debut. The new album is indeed a much denser and fuller work its less "Upper West Side Soweto" and "preppy college" rock and takes its cue from a broader musical palette. Nonetheless the departure is not overtly radical in a Noah and the Whale "First Days of Spring" sense and on balance "Contra" remains tremendously upbeat.
The thing about Vampire Weekends debut was that it came out of leftfield like the proverbial bolt from the blue; it was intelligent and inventive stuff and seemed to be an active partner to that other uber smart record of that time MGMTs "Oracular Spectacular". Erza Koenig's lyrics were witty and songs like "A Punk" could soundtrack romantic comedies.
While the essential features of the Vampire Weekend sound are here this album is noticeably different to signal progression. But is it better or worse for this?
Overall the sheer hedonism of their debut is missing which may not be a negative. You can have too much of a good thing and the band must develop. Not that the first track "Horchata" suggests a radical new departure. Indeed this could have happily sat on the debut while "White Sky" sounds like it could be included on a remix album entitled "Graceland with Synths". At a pinch so could have "Cousins" but which nevertheless shows how the band is maturing. It's the most frenzied guitar driven song on an album which relies more heavily on percussion and synths. Clocking up 2.25 minutes it's a great choice for a single.
Firmly in the "different" category are three songs. Firstly the albums clear highlight is "Taxi Cab". This is a slow beautiful bubbling pop song with some classical overtones and a lovely vocal by Koenig. If this is the new direction for Vampire Weekend I would vote for it! Similarly the sister song to "Taxi cab" is the title track "I think you are contra" a song of such dreamy pop that Beach House could have recorded it. It has a lovely melancholy quality and is about as far from "Walcott" or "Mansell Roof" as its possible to get. Finally many reviews have already named checked the Clash's Sandinista when it comes to "Diplomat Son" which is a 6 minute plus bouncy ska epic that the band just about pull off.
The same cannot be said for other songs such as "California English" which is a bit Vampire Weekend by formula and the very lightweight "Holiday" which is just a bit silly. "Contra" has a few low points and is therefore not quite five stars. That said it is by any standards a very successful sophomore effort on which many other new bands have struggled and failed. Vampire Weekend by this criteria may have a longevity and durability to become one of the major bands of the next decade. Enjoy.Read more ›
It was at a similarly chilly time of year back in 2008 that Vampire Weekend released their eponymous debut album. Unseasonably warm, afro-infused pop had my toes tapping for the rest of the year and it remains an album to put a smile on the face. The naysayers accused the Ivy League graduates of being too clever with their lyrics about obscure punctuation and architectural features and even of cultural tourism with the African musical influences (let's be honest - if you removed the African musical influences from pop music you'd be left with...well, Chas 'n' Dave. And they've just split up). Personally, I grew up listening to Paul Simon's Graceland so I have no problem bouncing about the room to that kind of thing and I have been looking forward to the release of their sophomore effort.
Opening track Horchata will be grist to the mill of the doubters with its subject (a Mexican rice drink) and rhyming - balaclava and aranciata to name but two. For the converted, along with tracks like White Sky, Holiday and the guitar driven Cousins, it is a track that could have come from their previous album, providing more of the same if that's what you're after. Where they depart there are some huge hits and perhaps the odd miss. Some of the tracks that had me worried on my first listen have already become amongst my favourites. One still remains at the risk of being skipped each time though. One day some kind of judicial process will bring Auto-tune to trial for crimes against music but until that time we will have to endure more experiments with it like California English. It is followed however by the beautiful Taxi Cab in which frontman Koenig employs those beautiful, effortless, Paul Simon tones, backed by strings and later harpsichord. How's that for Ivy League!
The electronic experimentation is far more successful on Run, a tale of escape that bursts with energy and light. It is an example of a track where the Afro influences are absorbed rather dominant, a good indication of where Vampire Weekend will continue to triumph. Giving Up The Gun is a good example of a track that has really grown on me, sounding first like something from an 80's brat-pack-flick-soundtrack but revealing something lovely with each new listen. The only drawback at the moment is that if M79 had a whiff of Ski-Sunday about it, then the repeated refrain of 'Go on, go on, go on' on this track might just remind you of Mrs Doyle from Father Ted. Sorry, I shouldn't have said that because it certainly will now (if you know what I'm talking about that is). Diplomat's Son is the longest track on a short album, almost two in one, its reggae like rhythm breaking down in places so that piano and strings can plonk and twirl away. There is something haunting and disorienting about closer I Think Ur A Contra which I'm loving. It's often the quieter moments that herald something exciting on this album, although I can't stop jumping around to Cousins either.
In spite of those accusations from those against you can't help but admire the ways in which Vampire Weekend are clever and make the most of those influences, combining them with genuine creativity to make something entirely their own. It's early days but this already the first must-have album of the year. What better way to beat the cold-snap than put this on, mix up some horchata, and enjoy.Read more ›
This is the perfect follow up album, it links well with the first but bursts into life spanning various genres making this one magical and musically inspiring album. Listen to it, now imagine singing and dancing to that at the summer festivals in the sunshine and mud, PERFECT.
i was introduced to this band by my nephew. First cd was very good, this is better. The band's affection for tightly wound guitar riffs and brisk african rythyms is shown up very well, and their comparison to some of Paul Simon's classics does no harm at all. The lyrics are also esoteric and leave you hanging in the air wanting more. The music, is light airy and clever.
So much to enjoy on this album. VW have really upped their game. Influences from all over the place but always their own sound. Taxi Cab and I Think UR a Contra are a welcome change of pace beautifully executed.
This album has the same great jolly feel from the debut. Although it took a few listens to get into it(hence the four stars) it is now level with their self-named album. There is a song that makes me think of every part of the year! Spring: 'Giving up the Gun' -Upbeat and and layered Summer: 'Holiday' -self explanatory! Autumn: 'Diplomats Son' -chilled, it has a nice reggae feel Winter: 'Horchata' I know it's not hot chocolate but that's what this song makes me like, it is cosy and comforting.
All the songs have so many aspects to them that all fit together. This album is inkeeping with the style of their first album and yet has another somewhat more matured layer. I also love the fact it comes with a card sleeve over the CD case, it make it feel more luxurious.