Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend


3.5
great

Review

by DivineBolt USER (2 Reviews)
January 29th, 2008 | 72 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Although Vampire Weekend can't quite measure up to the hype enveloping their self-titled debut - after all, who really could - the band does provide an enjoyable, consistently pleasing batch of pop songs.

If you’re to believe the wildly unfair amount of hype surrounding Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut album, the Columbia University students who formed the band are one of the greatest things to happen to popular music since The Strokes sparked new life into rock and roll at the turn of the century. The hype, which on the basis of a few demo tracks has been festering and exponentially expanding since early 2007, will suggest that Vampire Weekend’s tribal African rhythm sections, classical music loving orchestral arrangements, and pristine pop melodies are some of the most innovative combinations since sex and candy.

This is, of course, an absurd and desperate claim to hurl upon any band, especially one that is in the mere infancy of its life. Although Vampire Weekend are indeed an incredibly talented group of musicians, and although the overarching aesthetic which defines their sound is a breath of fresh air, the group’s debut can’t ever quite match up to the delusions of grandeur it has been assigned. Instead Vampire Weekend have put together a cohesive, well-executed batch of songs that are consistently pleasing but never astounding.

Vampire Weekend should hardly be criticized for such a feat, though, because even though their record lacks the replay value of a timeless classic, “Vampire Weekend” is an album nearly anyone can enjoy. Most of this can be attributed to the well-polished, clean feel of the album, as well as the fact that “Vampire Weekend” places a clear emphasis on distinct, easily accessible pop as opposed to the sludge and dirt of a more rugged, distorted rock record. Every single note, of every single song rings out clearly.

It doesn’t take much more than a listen to the catchy bounce of “Oxford Comma” for this fact to settle in. The track hops along behind a steady mellotron as lead singer/guitarist Ezra Koenig casually exercises his effortless vocals through one of the catchiest sing-along tunes on the album. Likewise, “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “M79” are meticulously crafted gems that illustrate the fact that Vampire Weekend put an intricate amount of effort and detail into each song. On “M79” dueling violins restlessly whirl about with such force that the track nearly captures the experience of a live symphony and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” utilizes a laconic bongo to hold the beat before closing the song with a keyboard riff not far from something Bach might have written.

That said, not all of “Vampire Weekend” is the band’s own unique version of Afro-pop, nor is it all worthwhile material. “Campus” is about the closest Koenig and company come to writing a conventional indie rock song, but after a listen or two the song is just that. Conventional and boring. The same can be said for the majority of the back half of the album with the notable exception of “I Stand Corrected,” a nostalgic, piano-driven lament that borders on doo-woop before eventually bringing to mind the Arctic Monkeys in one of their finer moments. Perhaps more noticeably, album closer “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” sounds like a Vampire Weekend cover of The Police, although I might only be saying that because Koenig does a spot-on Sting impersonation throughout the entire song. Regardless, the song mixes everything that is Vampire Weekend, swirling strings, a thumping bassline, and precocious keyboards.

In the end, “Vampire Weekend” is undeniably a fine debut record from a band that clearly has loads of potential and songwriting ability. Still, the album as a whole becomes redundant and uneventful after a couple listens all the way through, and I find it hard to believe that “Vampire Weekend” will triumphantly trounce the test of time. In the meantime, though, “Vampire Weekend” is certainly worth your time, as long as you keep your expectations in check.


user ratings (1223)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Marzuki (3.5)
Music to listen to while eating caviar on a beach in Anguilla....

567ajt (5)
"I see a mansard roof through the trees"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
plane
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2008


6100 Comments


This is a great first review. I agree with a lot of what you've said, though I do think "Campus" sort of rules. But the first half easily trumps the second.

Like I said, great first review, and hopefully you stick around to write more.

AtavanHalen
January 29th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree!
A little too short on detail, but otherwise very good.This Message Edited On 01.29.08

DivineBolt
January 30th 2008


15 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks a lot for the comments. I'll definitely look to include a bit more detail in the future. Again, thanks!

Eliminator
March 8th 2008


2067 Comments


omg guys afrobeat
on two songs!!

KINGGS
March 8th 2008


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been listening to this album a lot the past few days, I like it very much.

stoopkid
March 8th 2008


326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I bought this at Target yesterday. I can see it really growing on me.

Impulse buys ftw!

PietroCrespi
March 9th 2008


105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album would totally get a 4 if the 2nd half was as good as the 1st half.

dub sean
March 16th 2008


980 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

wow I have grown sick of these guys, and after such a short time. I'm really surprised. Bedouin Soundclash stomps VW to the ground.

eamon
March 30th 2008


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, I really liked this album at first but found it got quite old fairly quickly

ncherf
April 14th 2008


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love this album. Just love it.

"The Kids Don't Stand a Chance," "Walcott," & "Mansard Roof" are the best. Remind me of a more upbeat French Kicks.This Message Edited On 04.14.08

barr27
April 17th 2008


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i didn't think the end of the album was that weak...

gasmaskman
May 28th 2008


1006 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great first review...
I got this album after hearing A-Punk and it's pretty damn good

Lufcus
October 5th 2009


1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I found this album purely by mistake and I have really been inpressed with it. Great review too. M79 is my fav sound.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2009


28829 Comments


yeah i agree w/ everyone here. band sucks and so does album. cheerz.

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

KieranVandRakim
November 9th 2009


332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nvm

Kiran
Emeritus
December 3rd 2009


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

been spinning this lately. really fun to come back to after growing tired of it. new album is gonna be better too if its anything like the singles.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2010


15083 Comments


currently liking this lil better than contra

CelestialDust
May 12th 2010


3157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

love ittt

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2010


15083 Comments


haha yeah coulda expected that

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2010


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ignoring the immense hype lumped onto Vampire Weekend, their self-titled debut LP is ultimately a strong release. Taking a slice of music from seemingly every corner of the globe (African rhythms, reggae percussion, Irish strings, etc...), the NYC quartet infuse indie & post-punk, and come up with a sound of their own. Vibrant & quirky pop melodies are supported by distortionless guitar & interesting lyrical themes, while at a concise 34 minutes there is little filler. Recommended Tracks: A-Punk, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, Walcott & M79.



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