Vampire-weekend-M-Review-No26VAMPIRE WEEKEND

Modern Vampires of the City 

[XL Recordings]

Vampire Weekend’s third album expands its varied repertoire with a musical valentine to their hometown of New York City. Set to liquid chords and languid rhythms, the band’s serious-minded lyrics center on the trials of 20-something life. The band incorporates numerous sounds, from rubbery bass on the mod-rockabilly number “Diane Young” to Hammond organ on the Beach Boys-inspired “Unbelievers.” This kitchen-sink aesthetic might overwhelm some bands, but singer Ezra Koenig grounds the material with elastic phrasing and evocative storytelling. Koenig and Rostam Batmanglij, the principal songwriters, preach against complacency in relationships with oneself and others, and the result is an album of dynamic mood swings. With “Step,” a dreamy trip-hop ballad, the narrator embraces the challenge of the future. Later, on “Don’t Lie,” the protagonist longs for simpler times. For such an expansive, eclectic album, it’s a fitting finale.  –Blake Boldt


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