As soon as word broke, and hype began to build, that New York natives Vampire Weekend were going to grace 2013 with a return and subsequent third album, Vampire Weekend fans, and music enthusiasts alike assumed that summer was saved, and it was going to be a great year for music. Following two previous albums, packed with club night classics, hyperactive riffs, and that song where everyone in the room goes “A-A-A-A-A”, it was going to be interesting to see what direction they were going to take things for latest album “Modern Vampires Of The City”.
You’d have to be living in a box, under a rock, on an island to have not heard first single from the LP ‘Diane Young’, as most radio stations have been playing it at every opportunity. As soon as i first heard this, i championed it as the sound of the summer, and it hasn’t got boring through excessive play, in fact it’s got better. With its clever wordplay in the lyrics, and unique structure to the song as Vampire Weekend normally provides; it’s a hit and will hopefully remain so for the remainder of the year. As part of the first single release, the B side ‘Step’, track 3 from the album, is a very different beast all together. A much more sleepy and subdued effort, but presented in a sweet and cosy package. ‘Step’ could be considered the winter to ‘Diane Young’s summer. Again utilising their full wit throughout, it’s an interesting and concentration earning part of the record.
The first track, ‘Obvious Bicycles’ is an unlikely beginning to anything you’d have expected from the NY four piece. Again, much steadier, much more mature, and a lot more sentimental than anything we’ve heard from them before. The only previous song of any similar nature would have been ‘Giving Up The Gun’, from second album Contra, and yet this album really sounds like it’s going to be completely different right from the start. The unusual name of the intro track may contain the word obvious, but so far there’s nothing obvious about ‘MVOTC’.
The rest of the album continues in a consistent way, going from slow and methodical, to steady and romantic, and only speeding up momentarily for tracks 8 & 9, and then reducing itself back to a tempo much like at the beginning. It would appear that the Vampire Weekend gentlemen have matured their sound, and regulated their pace, and i for one love the new sound. We’ve heard them go frantic on ‘Cousins’, we’ve seen them induce chanting and po-going with ‘A-Punk’, and we’ve heard them sound exactly like Paul Simon with ‘White Sky’. One advantage I can personally see from them lowering the tempo is that the wit and intelligence behind the lyrics can truly be recognised and celebrated as it should. Some reviews have suggested the band has lost something, whilst still saying the album is good. I say they’ve gained a lot, and the album is pure gold.
Modern Vampires Of The City is available now on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/modern-vampires-of-the-city/id613184430
Words by Stuart Greeen (@mojo20_music)