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Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

May 24, 2008

The impressive thing about new band Vampire Weekend’s debut album is not its consistency or eclectic flavor, but instead its immediacy. Instead of any attitude that this weekend will be a weekend that we will remember for the rest of our lives, or that we will get smashed and do things that can’t be erased, this weekend resonates of a straightforward, fun, in the moment attitude. It has been a long time since I have heard an album this shamelessly happy, and a long time since that kind of happiness has not been distracting or aggravating. Part of this might be due to the simple, warm instrumentation. The drums are propelling yet anything but tough. The guitars almost sound hushed. And everything else seems to be produced to be comfortable. That isn’t to say that the album is boring, however. Although the aim might be comfort and happiness, the sheer consistency of the album keeps it unique and compelling. To say that the band are smart would be an understatement. This kind of utilization of stringed instruments suggests classical training, and anyone who even knows what an Oxford Comma is can’t be a chump. Vampire Weekend seem to have discovered the alchemy to make pop gold. Arpeggiations dot songs beautifully throughout, most notably on the string laden M79, which makes use of hooks from a guitar, string section, and harpsichord (or at least the harpsichord setting of someone’s keyboard). This song is not lonely in its appeal. In fact, even a new listener could go through the album and never have any even remote desire to switch songs. The fact that they hold attention while flipping through an ocean of variety is that much more pleasing and impressive. From loud Little Richard esque piano pop (Walcott), to African rhythms over simple chord progressions and pleasing switchups (Cape Cod Kwassa), to glowing Mark Mothersbaugh esque chamber pop (Campus), and to giddy electro fun (Blake’s Got a New Face), there is not a corner of this album that feels unnecessary or able to be improved upon. This album gets the highest regards for the simple fact that every song is great, and it will appeal to people who listened to The Beatles in high school as well as people who remember the Rugrats theme song fondly.

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