Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City


4.5
superb

Review

by snydely USER (10 Reviews)
December 1st, 2013 | 12 replies | 755 views


Release Date: 05/14/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A change of direction and style for Vampy Weeks, but with that much-loved je ne sais quoi that made their previous albums so enticing

1 of 2 thought this review was well written

The combined musical genius of Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio, and Chris Taylor was first introduced to the general public in 2008 with the release of the self-titled debut album of New York City’s Vampire Weekend. With light and sugary guitar hooks, bouncing and bobbing hair, and a clean and accessible indie rock sound unlike anything else that had achieved mainstream success at the time, these four, clean-cut young guys became immortalized in the genre they helped redefine. Appearances on late-night television, a shout-out by Rolling Stone magazine in their “100 top albums of the decade” and “500 top albums of all-time” lists (it placed 56th and 430th, respectively), and incredible recognition from fans across all genres of music; surely it couldn’t get any bigger and better, right? Wrong – well, sort of. "Contra" followed in 2010, again solidifying Vampire Weekend’s status as heroes of their genre. All of this meant one thing; whatever their third album would be, it would have to be amazing.

And I am happy to report that it is, in fact, amazing. Abstract instrumentation and a slight departure from the indie pop sounds the world had fallen so madly in love with? Both risky moves and surely hit-or-miss (spoiler alert: it’s a hit). Production on this album was a lot simpler and stripped back than it was on prior records. The bright cheeriness cemented in the pretty and poppy, catchy and cutesy guitar hooks on tracks like 'A-Punk' and 'Cousins,' to name a few, is not as prevalent on this album. 'Unbelievers,' for example, is a rather simple song, with lyrics featuring religious themes like: “We know the fire awaits unbelievers/All of the sinners the same/Girl you and I will die unbelievers, bound to the tracks of the train.” Also featured on that track is an infectious brassy breakdown. Lead single and album favorite 'Diane Young' is a rollicking, banging melody with some impressive percussion and the occasional bleeping synth noise, pitch-shift, and saxophone freak-out. 'Finger Back' is a track that feels slightly out of place on here; it’s very jittery and frantic, from the vocals to the instrumentation. While it may not feel like the rest of the album, it certainly feels like Vampire Weekend and is a very fun listen. Oh, and let’s not forget the break in the middle of the song where Ezra talks about…well…really nothing in particular. “See ya next year in Jerusalem…” His mind kind of wanders from there and I’m sure there’s some sort of deep imagery associated with what he’s saying but for the life of me, I can’t figure it out (and I’m not going to try).

Another musical factor that comes into play frequently on "Modern Vampires of the City" is the orchestral string melodies. 'Step,' 'Hannah Hunt,' 'Everlasting Arms,' and closing track 'Young Lion' feature lovely, beautiful sounds and the accompanying vocals, guitars, bass, and drums only help to support them even further. 'Ya Hey' has the potential to be a really pretty song, and it is – but I’ll admit it. The chipmunk vocals in the chorus…I’m just not digging them. Personally, I feel it's weak and bogs down what is an otherwise good song.

To put it simply, "Modern Vampires of the City" is not a rehash of previous Vampire Weekend outputs. It is not the same sounds you’ve heard before and in my opinion, that’s a good thing. These guys sound more mature, classy, and refined as ever, and the entire album is just sweet. Definitely check it out if you’re a fan and even if you aren’t.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyrael
December 1st 2013



20823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules

shoeblood
December 1st 2013



16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. Album rules very hard.

jtswope
December 1st 2013



2067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

step is so good

Green Baron
December 1st 2013



19512 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

diane young won't change your mind...

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Azn.
December 1st 2013



5604 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great band, gets too much unwarranted hate

zoso33
December 1st 2013



201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah these guys are geniuses. best album to date

sicktransitbro
December 1st 2013



55 Comments


neg'd, no regrets

first personhood in writing normally gets a cold shoulder, and rightly so, because (case in point here) it just comes off as meretricious, lazy, and self-absorbed. also the rhetorical question got on my nerves hella bad.

idk the review just kinda comes off as a kid i dont know was telling me, unsuccessfully, to "check out" his favorite band "man!"

and i feel like with the amount of time ezra & co put into songwriting some thematic arcs deserve at least sparing attention; your laziness w.r.t. them just strikes me as uncaring. i mean even koenig himself asked people to look at the 'step' family tree of references. but your back into it next time

larrytheslug
December 2nd 2013



1315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh you saint, america dont love you

brandontaylor
December 2nd 2013



77 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album of the year tbh

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 2nd 2013



7164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

baby x 3

right on time

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Tyrael
December 2nd 2013



20823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Step is soty hard

Pheromone
December 2nd 2013



3466 Comments


The band are good, the fans are annoying as shit.

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