Vampire Weekend has graduated with full honors this time on their new third album, “Modern Vampires of the City”. What a huge and mature leap forward this is for the New York foursome who have created here 12 brilliant tracks of infectious pop rock. It’s a perfect summer album featuring one of the catchiest songs of the year “Ya Hey”. Very clever indeed.
VW’s music always had a college friendly appeal ever since they got together in 2007 at Columbia University. The band’s name was inspired by a vampire film lead singer Ezra Koenig had worked on in Cape Cod one summer. The group’s equally irresistible first two albums were a little long in the Paul Simon-Graceland department and hooked on a few too many campus romances. Now that the band is approaching their 30’s, they’ve jettisoned all that frat boy Cape Cod college party stuff and grown up on “Modern Vampires of the City”. Nor is Koenig no longer denying his unabashed embracing of his inner Simon on several tracks, “Unbelievers” and “Everlasting Arms”. And that’s a good thing.
A Big Step
A big step forward in VW’s maturity is in the romance relationship department. No longer writing about college loves, Koenig is taking a more realistic approach. One of the strongest on “Modern Vampires” is “Hannah Hunt”, a song that sticks with you long after you’ve listened to it. An unattached couple goes on a road trip that starts in New York and winds up on a beach in Santa Barbara with all hopes of a romantic relationship dashed, as a Hannah, missing NYC, tears up a copy of the New York Times to start a camp fire.
Gone are the guitar driven quasi-Afro pop beats that marked the previous two Vampire albums in favor of multi-layered keyboards and orchestra effects that give “Modern Vampires” an almost atmospheric film noir soundtrack feel to songs like “Hudson” and the fade out of “Hannah Hunt”. There’s even a prominent harpsichord that pops up on the album’s third track, “Step”.
Look Out Grammies!
Vampire Weekend deserves full credit for creating a cohesive and brilliant pop album. “Modern Vampires of The City” is simply irresistible. It’s one of the best albums of the year and no doubt will be a big winner at the next Grammy Awards.
MUSIC ALERT: VW makes its only Bay Area appearance at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park this August 9-11, 2013.
WATCH A LIVE PERFORMANCE: Vampire Weekend performed a 12 song set from “Modern Vampires of the City” in Santa Monica recorded for NPR station KCRW on May 15th.