Posted by: outroversion | December 28, 2010

Album of the year runner up: Vampire Weekend- Contra

 

Vampire WeekendContra

Upon the release of Vampire Weekend’s sophomore album I was sure that it would be in the running for album of the year at its close. As the year has worn on as has the impact of Contra an album that found its charm in being only partially removed from the New Yorkers’debut.

Backed up by a viral marketing campaign that as far as I’m aware is still being fought in the courts, V-Dubs hit us with two tracks in quick succession. The first led me to trying Horchata this summer, it’s snake milk I believe and it’s incredibly rich and sugary sweet. You’ve really got to be in the mood for milk to finish a glass, the same is true of the track, if you were sold on vampire weekend’s sound in 2008 you’ll like it enough to stick around for the rest of the album.

Cousins harked back to A-Punk, the mainstream’s favourite offering of their debut. This is the track where you start to notice the impact that Rotsam Batmanlij’s actual genius is starting to have on the band’s consistent sound, getting to the point of if you like what VW sound like, you’re going to like everything they do… To an extent, but the less said about experimental, back masking California English the better.

Towards the end of their maiden tour Ezra and the boys started to introduce a new track towards the end of their set. The brilliant in every way, White Sky. Adapted here to become a little more easy listening it retained its charm. Wonderfully descriptive lyricism that was toyed with on the non-album track from the early days Ottoman and definitely where E.K is at his strongest.

 Criticism I do hear of the band before having the upstart dismissed for not being high brow enough to understand supposedly intelligentsia targeting baroque pop, is that they try to put too much into each song. Run and Giving up the gun are prime examples of this leaving it hard to accept them merely as great album tracks.

Diplomat’s son is hopefully the direction Vampire Weekend go with their third album, well thought out pseudo political lyricism backed not so much by the keyboards that drown filler tracks Taxi Cab and Contra but by light piano and the rhythmic coupling of Ezra’s creative vocals and Rotsam’s forward thinking percussive tendencies that almost render the actual drumming redundant. Of course this track does sample M.I.A so its hard to say what this would have sounded like without her but these guys know what they sound like and what they don’t want to be which is why we can only hope the sound of Discovery doesn’t leak into Rotsam’s day job.

Download: Diplomat’s son, Cousins and White Sky

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