Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
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Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
(XL)

Well. Fuck it.

I get constantly called-out by family, friends and even co-workers about being a music snob (sometimes jokingly, sometimes serious), and despite my protests it never really goes away. I'm certainly just asking for it when a good portion of the stuff I mention in conversation is barely-pronouncable music from Nordic countries and genre-blasting electronic crossovers, but god damn it I do like to have fun sometimes too.

So instead of defending myself for another paragraph, I'm just going to say that I think this debut album from Vampire Weekend is a heck of a lot of fun. It's true that it's a bit overly precious, with lyrical references that lean towards the prep and ivy-league school side of things, but as a wise man once said, "it has a funky beat, and you can really bug out to it."

In a cynical mood, one would likely say that this is pop-lite, cribbed from Talking Heads and afro pop and English Beat and the latest indie stylings. Heck, on first listen I even though it sounded like the group was doing their best to write an entire-album audition of music for the next Wes Anderson movie, but then I had a dream of spring from underneath the permafrost and my cranky mood melted away. "Mansford Roof" kicks things off with a chugging, Jonathan Fire Eater (pre-Walkmen) vibe that mixes carnival organs and snare-cracking percussion alongside typical indie rock vocal croons (slightly affected, you know the routine). "A-Punk" is the first single from the group and it's even more catchy, with spidery guitar melodies and crisp rhythms that fire on all cylinders as the track pops off and out in barely over two minutes without wasting a single second.

Most offensive lyrically might be "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," where they name-drop Louis Vuitton, Peter Gabriel, Reggaeton, and Bennetton over a playful, goofy track that sounds like an indie rock band doing their best Paul Simon impersonation. "Walcott" rides a repeating piano refrain, layered strings and shimmering guitar trills in a way that's been played out so much, but the group somehow still tugs a little something out of the nearly-dry well.

And really, that's Vampire Weekend in a nutshell. They pull little bits from a bunch of different reference points and blend it all together into an agreeable, and insanely catchy whole. Eleven songs run just thirty-four minutes and there's barely any sagging spots (although "One (Blake's Got A New Face)" would certainly count). It's probably not substantial enough that it will stick in my head all year (and possibly not even until the ground thaws), but it is a highly enjoyable pop album from a young group who are riding some hype and getting slapped with backlash at the same time.

rating: 7.7510
Aaron Coleman 2008-02-14 19:18:54