Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampire of the City (XL)

 |   |  1 min read

Vampire Weekend: Diane Young
Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampire of the City (XL)

Vampire Weekend are one of the cleverest American bands of the moment, and for many that won't be a compliment. They are smart and knowing, and that meant on their last album Contra they shaved of a bit of Afrobeat and Paul Simon's Graceland as they expanded their musical palette.

This time out though they seem to have gne for somethng we might call "beauty" in songs which often creep at a stately place, are layered musically and are of great sensitivity. So fewer musical explosions but more quality time in the headphones perhaps.

Few bands open an album with a slow ballad -- the lovely Obvious Bicycle -- or keep the mood so introspective through to the third track with its close-miked singing and an intrusive weirdly slowed vocal at the end. And Hannah Hunt -- there's no recession the VW's world, it's about a drive from Providence to Phoenix and money doesn't seem to be an issue -- is another (mostly) measured ballad with prominent piano.

The more rowdy song -- notably the incendiary Diane Young with its stuttering guitar, urgent keyboards and again processed vocal parts -- are also clever and knowing. Finger Back kicks in like My Sharona (but lacks its massive catchiness) and Worship You is driven by strident drumming and a tongue-twisting verses.

There are some real duds here however: the ponderous Don't Lie has all the musical and emotional grip of Teflon; and the string-enhanced Everlasting Arms has the lyrical ambition of a Paul Simon song but none of his musicality.

Lyrically of course VW remian at the high end of the education spectrum and here mention holy water, Angkor Watt, richer than Croesus, "you torched a Saab like a pile of leaves", the New York Times, etiquette and evisceration, The Isrealites and 19th Nervous Breakdown, "the legendary wooden gate that first established real estate" . . .

Yes, very clever and a real repeat play album -- skipping in a few places -- to weasel out the nuances. But this time out the cleverness seems more forced towards centrestage whereas previously it was more easily part of the texture.

The difficult third album no doubt and while it isn't without its problems, you sense they have just cleared the hurdle and are ready to sprint again. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jason Collett: Here's to Being Here (Shock)

Jason Collett: Here's to Being Here (Shock)

This Canadian singer-songwriter's previous album Idols of Exile was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2006 so this one was always going to come to the top of the pack. As a former member of Elsewhere... > Read more

Caro Emerald: The Shocking Miss Emerald (Dramatico)

Caro Emerald: The Shocking Miss Emerald (Dramatico)

When anyone asked "Why the Famous Elsewhere Questionaire?" I tell them of Little Richard who, when encountering James Brown and his newly formed band the Famous Flames, he said something... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Buddy Guy: Living Proof (Silvertone)

Buddy Guy: Living Proof (Silvertone)

The great Guy has been one of blues' most enduring and endearing characters: he upstaged the Stones in his cameo slot on their Shine A Light doco, and way back influenced Hendrix. He's been... > Read more

Climie Fisher: Here today and gone . . .

Climie Fisher: Here today and gone . . .

Climie -- or maybe it was Fisher -- almost had me. The conversation was, in the late Eighties, about why so many pop duos were turning up with little or no live experience, and why record companies... > Read more