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There is such a thing as TOO quirky, you know
on 29 June 2008
I want to like Vampire Weekend. I really do. They deserve kudos for keeping their songs short, fun and catchy, while bringing Soweto-style rhythms to the masses for the first time since Graceland. Fun little melodies bounce along as if their only purpose is to make you happy, and singer Ezra Koenig yaps his vocals like a playful puppy, eager for a biscuit. So far, so endearing. But there is something of a feeling of look-at-me smart-arsedness about it all that threatens to undo their good work at times. Recent single Oxford Comma is an example - a song that seems to bemoan grammatical fascism and an obsession with correct spelling. I mean, eh? Someone is wearing their clever trousers. Catchy tune, though.
But while there are other disappointing moments - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa starts off giving the impression that it's going to be better than it turns out, while One (Blake's Got A New Face) is just plain ruddy irritating - there are a lot of good moments too. Opener Mansard Roof is a short but pleasing way to get the ball rolling, and stays in the head much longer than its 2 minute running time; A-Punk will get fans of late 70s 2-Tone feeling nostalgic; while my personal favourite M79 is a delight, starting with a bright little harpsichord intro (yes, a harpsichord) and featuring a string section jaunty enough to bring the sun out.
I get a distinct feeling there is a very good album in this band. This just isn't yet quite it.