Modern Vampires Of The City - Vampire Weekend

XL Recordings

It started as a brief fling; an adventurous Vampire Weekend that’s turned into a three album affair. The band has sometimes been dismissed as ‘prepsters’, but the driving influences behind their genius are anything but. Big fans of both energized punk and African polyrhythm, Vampire Weekend rocketed on the scene in 2008. The opening track from their self-titled debut, ‘Mansard Roof’ was a propulsive riot unleashed on a languid pop music world; quirky, cheesy synths punctuating frantic tom work and township guitar skanks. A-Punk and Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa reinforced the album’s completely out of the ordinary approach to rhythm, melody and lyricism. ‘Contra’ followed suit in 2010, thumbing its nose at the band’s detractors with the somewhat infamous cover photo of the ultimate preppy chick in a polo shirt, and even more experimental play on global and goofball sounds. Ultimately, they would become the poster band for a whole new sub-genre dubbed ‘Passport Rock’ (Worldbeat coming from the opposite direction). One would expect a good deal of maturity showing through on their third release, ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’, but the package exceeds any expectations and once again demonstrates just how far ahead of the pack Vampire Weekend remains. In technical execution alone, the album shines. Ezra Koenig’s once fragile delivery, soars on waves of complex and tailored melodies. Quirky synths have matured into unorthodox pads of electronic interest. Chris Tomson’s drumming speeds the compositions with controlled precision and creativity. Bass player, Chris Baio finds rich veins of groove to mine through all the overlying complexities. And, Vampire Weekend is still breaking new ground, finding unique applications for things like vocal pitch shift, while the rest of the world drives auto-tune to ever lower depths. Check out the tonal drift that eerily floats through’ Everlasting Arms’, one of Modern Vampires’ finest moments. Other highlights include the ironically titled ‘Diane Young’, ‘Worship You’, and the opener, ‘Obvious Bicycle’. No one’s immortal, but Vampire Weekend has shown staying power far beyond the average musical one night stand.