Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City
Let's get the obligatory nod to Vampire Weekend's detractors out of the way; yes, they have a preppy, upper-class image which has made their music undeniably alienating at times in the past and yes, they take themselves seriously - or rather, they take their music seriously, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Modern Vampires Of The City is never going to be held up as an album able to stand on its own, because Vampire Weekend have their past works to contend with. It's a difficult stance to make, as most bands' records are going to be compared to their others, but for some reason Vampire Weekend seem to attract the criticism more than most.
However, whether Contra et al deserve the negativity or not, there's no doubt that Modern Vampires is a great album - in comparison or otherwise. The traps that Vampire Weekend fell into with earlier records; trying too hard or seeming too overwrought have been avoided here, while the record still feels meticulously planned out, it's more attention to detail and perfectionism and less getting caught up in the nitty gritty and missing the bigger picture. Instead of wailing about the lives of the East Side elite - as previous records felt at times, regardless of the actual subject matter - Modern Vampires is a defined criticism of the overwhelming apathy felt by any 20-something.
There's a thoughtfulness evident on Modern Vampires Of The City which definitely takes some skill to pull off. Step in particular is lovely but, more than that, feels like it means something while retaining a sense of confusion as to what exactly that 'something' is - and Diane Young throws all that out before the record can get too steeped in navel-gazing, and is definitely the most fun song on the album.
Ya Hey is another highlight, showing that Vampire Weekend are still learning and creating something new, and choosing to push boundaries instead of staying with a given formula - and the preceding songs Finger Back and Worship You create an incredible series. Even the songs that don't work quite as well still shine here. Existing fans of Vampire Weekend will no doubt enjoy it, but the best part of the newfound growth will be the ability to convert even the most steadfast critics.
Modern Vampires Of The City is an almost immaculate album from Vampire Weekend, and it'll be more interesting than ever to see where the band go from here. And now, so many more can't wait to find out.