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Madrid City in English
Sunday 9th of December 2018
Matt Sachs 1306 30th of May 2013 by editor 30th of May 2013
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

Matt Sachs reviews Vampire Weekend's latest album, released on the XL label

When A-punk first surfaced on the internet five years ago, its high-energy summery guitar riff, contrasting flute and African-inspired rhythms brought the indie world’s attention to the New York-based quartet Vampire Weekend. When their self-titled debut was released some weeks later, with its playful lyrics, versatile and fluctuating melodies, and unusual instrumentation, the group found themselves in the indie-music spotlight. Now on their third album, Modern Vampires of the City, they continue to experiment with an impressive mix of musical influences and genres, and while the results aren’t always engaging, they are never less than interesting. “Diane Young”, for example, with its dive-bombing guitar and cracked, yipping vocals, harnesses the spirit of 50s rock and roll, yet the auto-tuned melody turns lead-singer Ezra Koenig’s voice into a vague pastiche of Elvis mixed with Alvin and the Chipmunks. “Step” waltzes along like a twisted version of Vitamin C’s “Graduation”, yet is propelled forward by a harpsichord and an angelic choral accompaniment before ending with a somewhat unexpected deep-voiced refrain usually reserved for rap. On “Everlasting Arms” the band seem to have found the right balance of experimental instrumentals and melodic intrigue. The song, carried by a similar funky thumping bass, bouncing bongos, and groovy guitar lick like Paul Simon’s Graceland, captures the same carefree spirit as their debut. Vampire Weekend’s music doesn’t fit neatly into a box and clearly it doesn’t want to be placed in one. The group don’t seem too concerned about what is expected or what is the norm, which is an attitude to be commended, and while Modern Vampires does at times lack the rawness and energy of their self-titled first album, it is compelling in its own way.

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