Vampire Weekend - Cousins - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Vampire Weekend - Cousins

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2009-12-14

Heralding their new album Contra, long-awaited by indie kids and music critics, 'Cousins' sees Vampire Weekend doing what they do best - two and a half minutes of bracingly entertaining preppy punk-pop nonsense. If 'Horchata', a Contra teaser released on the band's website in October, came off as a slightly disappointing version of 'Mansard Roof', then 'Cousins' is perhaps this album's 'A-Punk', all spiky guitar riffs, hyperactive drumming and even a few chants of "ay ay ay!". Ezra Koenig's lyrics are typically loaded with sparklingly absurd wordplay: "Dad was a risk taker/His was a shoe maker/You greatest hits 2006/Little listmaker." "You could turn your back on the bitter world," he yelps in the middle eight, but 'Cousins' isn't a song of tortured, misanthropic angst; it's a more celebratory affair than that, as evidenced by the riot of bells on the closing eight bars and the joyfully energetic video.

B-side 'California English Part 2" is more unusual; its whispered vocals and ethereal synths wouldn't have sounded out of place on the recent Animal Collective record. It's a pretty song, dreamy and introspective where 'Cousins' is buoyant and kinetic; the two make an excellent pairing. On this evidence, Contra promises to be a treat.

Pete Sykes

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