Saturday, March 8, 2008

Review: Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

I’ll start by asking for a late pass, and I also have to apologize for sleeping on Vampire Weekend for about a month too long. Vampire Weekend is the early frontrunner for the most-hyped band of 2008 award, and with good reason. Their debut is smart, catchy, and likely to top some critics’ best-of lists in nine months.

This record smokes in more than one way. For starters, it is just over 34 minutes. That’s short, even by indie pop standards. Secondly, the songs are compact, straightforward, and generally fast. “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” ends just as you think “Mansard Road” has begun.

What I like most about this record is the use of clean guitar and clever global hooks. The songs seem easy enough to play, but are neatly executed for fans of precision. The drummer is excellent, especially on “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” when he uses bongos (or something like that). The vocalist is confident, even if his lyrics are absurd.

This brings me to my biggest complaint about the record: the lyrics. They are trite, hard to relate to, and generally snobbish. I’m sure they get this criticism all the time, so I don’t have to go any further. If you like songs about yachts, Vampire Weekend is for you!

Don’t sleep on this band any longer: go out and get Vampire Weekend ASAP (or at least before you bring the fishing boat out of winter storage). For fans of: Paul Simon’s Graceland, unique pop music, Cape Cod, African grooves, and clean guitars.

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