Album Review: Vampire Weekend’s ‘Modern Vampires of the City’

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 at 11:09 am by

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Vampire Weekend’s third album, Modern Vampires of the City, dropped last week on XL Recordings. It feels like the culmination of something grand – as the end of a trilogy, so to speak – though there isn’t any tangible reason to think this. 

We are pleased to report that, as we mentioned before, the singles they released prior to the album’s debut proved to be an accurate indicator of what was to come.

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[Photo: Alex John Beck]Modern Vampires is more reflective than its predecessors. It’s cheeky, but channeled; where the band was once quick to showcase their wit, they now temper it. This modesty suits them, and it’s such modesty that engages the listener to unravel the band’s cleverness at their own pace. Well done.

The album is also soaked in ideological concerns and the inevitability of death, but it takes the edge off with incredibly harmonious riffs, peppy vocals, and an inescapable, surging electric feel. It’s more mature in that sense; in a recent interview with BBC, lead singer Ezra Koenig says of the new album, “We are the same people, but we’re older with new concerns … I find American politics mostly just stresses me out. But this record – more than any of the others – hopefully reflects our feelings about the country and the city that we live in.”

The other standout attribute of the album is their lyrical commitment when singing about relationships. There’s an emotional investment to the characters in songs such as “Hannah Hunt,” “Unbelievers,” and “Don’t Lie.” And be warned, “Worship You” is an earworm to the worst (best?) degree.

Overall, the album is great and deserves airtime on your speakers. If you weren’t into Vampire Weekend before, this is the album that may change your mind.

The earliest you can catch them live in these parts is at the Barclay’s Center on September 20.  In the meantime, check out their performance of “Everlasting Arms” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

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