[Originally published on ManifestDisc.com, February 2008.]
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Barely a month into 2008, and yet it feels like every music blogger has already been discussing Vampire Weekend for the better part of a year: Such is the blessing/curse of Internet hype. And so, barely twenty months after forming, the baby-faced Ivy League quartet now arrives with the crush of expectations heavy on their shoulders. This year’s Strokes? Or Arctic Monkeys? Or simply another Clap Your Hands Say Flash In A Pan?
First off, check your expectations at the door, else Vampire Weekend is bound to disappoint. This is not grandiose epic music on the level of Arcade Fire, not even a “band that will change your life” a la The Shins. Rather, VW’s modest 11-song debut flies by on its own lightweight charms, barely a half hour long, tailor-made for springtime drives and picnics on the quad. The Paul Simon comparisons, so ridiculous-sounding in the advance press, turn out to be dead-on: If you always wished Graceland talked less about Africa and more about Oxford, this is your album. As his compatriots mix Soweto with Talking Heads, Ezra Koenig sings about girls with names like Bryn and Blake, then turns “Is your bed made/ Is your sweater on” into a perfect come-on on the superbly-titled “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.” Precious, yes, but twice as infectious, and trust me: When Vampire Weekend hit “Walcott” and its chorus of “Don’t you wanna get out of Cape Cod tonight,” you’ll be singing right along.
See the original review here... and order it through Manifest!
I'm standing by this review some six months later. The hype is basically over now, leaving us with the perfect soundtrack for a hot summer day with the windows down.
Here's the suitably "twitchy" video for "A-Punk." And here's the international-only track "Boston."