It is probably safe to say that Vampire Weekend, the preppy, quintessentially Upper West Side New York four-piece has been one of the biggest bands of this past half-decade. Their self-titled debut record burst onto the scene with its jittery quips and catchy afro-pop beats, making the band’s charms insatiably hard to resist. They quickly rose to became one of indie rock’s superstars with both lead singer Ezra Koenig and multi-instrumentalist co-writer Rostam Batmangjlij getting higher profiles in the music world.
I really enjoyed Vampire Weekend, the debut record. It was one of my go-to jams for the summer of 08. It is with this great enjoyment that I eagerly anticipated their second record Contra. Though loved largely by critics, I honestly was disappointed (this might be an unpopular opinion). While I appreciate that Vampire Weekend tapped into their burgeoning idiosyncrasies with the record, I felt it was insipid and by-and-large uninspired. It was like the band took what was great from the first record and tried to polish it to fit a commercial model when one wasn’t needed. Though I liked some parts of Contra, it felt lacking for me.
Well now it’s time for third go-around. Vampire Weekend are getting ready to release what they call the third part of their trilogy of albums, Modern Vampires of The City. With tempered expectations, I came in with open ears listening to the album. And guess what – I absolutely freaking loved it.
Modern Vampires of The City is a more somber and mature record than its predecessors, rising above the former’s nonchalance and fluff. There are hints of darkness within the last quarter of the album that you wouldn’t find anywhere in their earlier albums. The great thing is that Vampire Weekend‘s sense of smart artistry and gift of capturing great melodies is still ever present in Modern Vampires. The band didn’t lose their sense of fun with the new record. (Just listen to the ridiculous catchiness of Finger Back and Worship You). Combining these trademark VW qualities with the band’s new-found sense of depth and maturity makes the record not only the best and most complete of Vampire Weekend‘s short discography, but one of the best ones released this year. This is an amazing, amazing record. I’m pretty sure it will end up in my top three records this year.
Watch the lyrics video for Step, my favorite track from an album full of highlights (I am in love with Hannah Hunt, Ya Hey, and Finger Back as well) embedded below.
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of The City comes out 5/14 via XL Recordings (order here)