Review: Vampire Weekend – “Modern Vampires Of The City”



Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires Of The City

XL Recordings – May 14th 2013
By Elyse Hill (@elyselikeswords)
Find it at: iTunes | Insound | HMV Digital





Chalk it up to New Yorker pretension or an Ivy League education, but Vampire Weekend’s frontman Ezra Koenig has always been one for obscure pop culture references and literary sentiments that you find yourself singing along to without really knowing what’s being said. While the group’s third full-length, Modern Vampires Of The City, features similar witticism and upbeat tempos (“Finger Back”), something has changed. Suddenly, Rostam Batmanglij’s once colourful arrangements of Contra have turned sepia-toned with the addition of church organs and gothic moans from a disembodied choir (“Hudson”). It seems as if Vampire Weekend has had an epiphany, a realization of fleeting youth and impermanence that is captured in the ever-appearing ticking clock of a drumbeat, or pitch-shifted vocal slides and apprehensive lyricism. It’s an epiphany that’s not only relatable, it’s pure euphonic bliss.

Whereas Vampire Weekend and Contra found influences in Afro-pop, reggae and emerging indie synth-pop sounds, Modern Vampires Of The City draws inspiration from classical arrangements, Irish and Persian interchange, and a few high-energy ’50s rockabilly beats (“Diane Young”) that burn with vivacious novelty while maintaining the familiar Vampire Weekend vibes. Tying it all together is Ezra’s incomparable yelp, which begs for sympathy in the unlikely ode “Hannah Hunt” and demands your attention with the ethereal depiction “Obvious Bicycle”. While the fear of transient moments and impending loss trickles through urgent piano chords and reverb, the group’s maturity proves to be inescapable. Wisdom’s a gift but these New Yorkers have shown there’s still a bit of youth in their years.

Listen: “Obvious Bicycle”, “Don’t Lie”, “Hudson”, “Finger Back” || Watch: “Diane Young”

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