For Fans Of
Vampire Weekend’s third record ‘Modern Vampires of the City,’ is the album for people who do not like the band. I know this because I am one. The band’s impressive Saturday Night Live performance would’ve convinced many to give the record a shot however, and the first sentence of this review subsequently stands on its own.
The opening track ‘Obvious Bicycle’ won’t do much to hook you in, granted the percussion is interesting and the standout feature of the song, but for the most part it is a fairly standard Vampire Weekend affair. ‘Step’ however is far more interesting, both lyrically and musically. Sure things are always kept fairly simple in this band’s world, the stripped back approach is often the one most used, but sometimes that is where the brilliance lies. The complex harpsichord that dances around the vocal melodies is beautifully crafted while gems like, "Wisdom’s a gift but you’d trade it for youth" are dropped with gentle ease.
This is followed by album highlight ‘Diane Young’, an up-tempo song with a 50’s surf rock feel that plays with some fun vocal effects for a little extra quirk.
There is a hefty use of samples throughout the record and the themes are largely negative, but presented with a positive feel (occasionally). The funny thing about an album like this is the depth that is not immediately present in the first few spins. Take ‘Finger Back’ for example, a song about past carnage, a tone that is not represented by its fuzzed out dance vibe.
Another solemn moment is ‘Hudson’, vocally driven with percussive patterns that merely support the creepy melodies. This is the most mature sound Vampire Weekend have ever had, not to say they weren’t mature before, but the seriousness strewn throughout this record alludes to some form of weightiness.
If you were to dissect the musical and lyrical content of ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ separately, you would conclude brilliance. Combine them in such a cohesive way, as the band do here, and you cannot argue that this is a piece of work that should be heard and appreciated despite any existing opinions of Vampire Weekend.
1. Obvious Bicycle
4. Diane Young
5. Don’t Lie
6. Hannah Hunt
7. Everlasting Arms
8. Finger Back
9. Worship You
10. Ya Hey
12. Young Lion