New Music: Vampire Weekend - Contra

I had actually started writing one of my old school music reviews where I take it really seriously, and treat it like I am an actual music writer of sorts with significant readership. Honestly, the intro alone name-checked both Kid A and Merrieweather Post Pavillion. You can probably imagine the themes; winter albums vs. albums that come out in the winter. The word "thaw" was used liberally. At the end of the day though, I have insignificant readership (in quantity, not quality), and anyone potentially reading this is probably just looking for a way to kill time at work, or fill some down time after dinner and before prime time television starts.

All that being said, the new Vampire Weekend album is really good. Seriously. The whole east coast affluence meets west african pop sensibility thing is still there (I still feel like a fraud even typing as if I know anything about west-african pop music. It is how all the people more cultured than me - including the band - describe the sound though, so I will stick with it for now). The guitars and production are still about as clean as anything I have heard. The flourishes of strings and keys just pop up all over the place after repeated listens. Ultimately, if you liked the first Vampire Weekend album (which, after all the hype/backlash dust settled, you should), then you will like this.

I should say that the band does jump the tracks a little on Contra from straightforward guitar rock though. You will find a little wider sonic reach here (read: some limited electronic tones, a track with autotune, and even a track that samples an M.I.A. song) but I think it ultimately makes for a more interesting/diverse listen, and shows the band is capable of really taking their sound a lot further than the standard four piece pop rock and roll thing they did so well on the self-titled record. Like I said though, aesthically speaking, this is still clearly a Vampire Weekend record.

As is now customary, I have included a couple of clips below. The first one is "Cousins", which shows them loosening the strings a little, and turning up the quirks. The second one is "Horchata", which I posted a link to previously, but is pretty unapollegtically Vampire Weekend doing what they do...and doing it very well. Enjoy.



Luke said...

Well said... despite your aborted attempt at a highbrow review, you still managed to come through with a rather good piece of writing.

Swine said...

Shameless drivel.

I've always wanted to say that.

Anyway, thanks for sharing. And honestly, any time you want to wander down that cerebral road, you just wander away.