Thursday, 4 February 2010

Vampire Weekend: Contra

One of the most hyped bands of 2008, the self titled debut spawned festival anthems, Mansard Roof and A-Punk, their African tinged sound and educated lyrics separating them from indie contemporaries. New York's Vampire Weekend return with that difficult second album. But where many bands fail to emulate the success of the first time round, Vampire Weekend pick up from where they left off quite effectively.

Contra kicks off with the infectious Horchata which is a lot like their earlier material with African drum beats and catchy melodies. They keep the African sounds throughout most of the album, although swapping the heavy percussion for violins and intricate piano on the more mellow Taxi Cab.

Cousins is this album's A-Punk and clearly the most exciting thing on it, with its frenzied guitars and overall rawer sound. It stands out from the rest of the album which is very polished with 80's electronic beats. Diplomat's Son is a lazy reggae song which perhaps drags on too long.

The albums best track apart from Cousins is Holiday, a short pop number with quirky guitars. Its the pinnacle of the albums summery sound. But whether this album will still be played frequently on my stereo by the time summer arrives remains to be seen. It is definitely a good second album but nothing exceptional, they have played it too safe.

The good thing is Vampire Weekend are far from being one of those bands with a disasterous second album, there are quite a few decent songs on here and I reckon we've yet to see the best of them.