Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Who would have thought it? Nobody, that's who. The last time African music enjoyed any meaningful dalliance with the Western mainstream it was under Paul Simon's patronage with his peerless 1986 album Graceland. That's if you don't count Damon Albarn's extra curricular indulgences (which you don't). The last place we expected it to turn up again was from four New York kids who otherwise might have been found fiddling with their fringes in dorm rooms waiting for the Albert Hammond Jr. tour to hit town. Even by the obscure standards US indie has set itself over the last few years (see TV on the Radio and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) Vampire Weekend offer up a witch's brew of audacity. That alone would be sufficient to garner infamy and a rep for experimentation, but they also hang from this rebellion of form a stream of alt-tunefulness so efficient and unabashed it would make The Strokes' first album blush. Thus, the piping reggae organ and sun-kissed swagger of "Oxford Comma" is given a heartbeat by tight lo-fi garage drums and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" lilts along with cheerful tribal rhythms and crisp African guitar, bound by ascending psychedelic vocals. And that's not to mention the mad strings that make listening to "M79" like watching Ski Sunday on hallucinogens. Their advanced rhythmical awareness even makes more standard indie rampages "I Stand Corrected" and "Walcott" less standard. Which is about the length of it; Vampire Weekend, making the standard much less standard. --James Berry

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