Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

VampireI actually have a smidgen of sympathy for so-called “MySpace bands”, which are bands that have supposedly used the internet to gain a following but seen to be passed it by the time they actually release any tunes. Vampire Weekend formed in 2006 but it’s taken until early 2008 for them to release their first album, despite a wave to hype and interest surrounding the band throughout the previous year. Maybe that’s a good thing: now the interest has subsided a bit, their self-titled debut album will have to stand on it’s own merit. What also helps is that Vampire Weekend really don’t sound like any other band right now. Taking the literary approach to rock and adding it to a world-music vibe makes for a really unique album in 2008.

Much has been made about the afro-beat influence on the band and indeed the drumming definately incorporates the layered “poly-rhythmic” african influence, especially on the lead single “Mansford Roof” which starts off kind of frenetic only to have a light chiming guitar and keyboard that mellows the track considerably. The songs on Vampire Weekend tend to be fairly short, normally lasting 3 minutes and this is a good thing: the songs are short and crafted, with short bursts of strings that lend a nice extra texture on some songs, like the jaunty “Bryn”.

Picking one track to highlight doesn’t do the album justice: Vampire Weekend works best as a cohesive album, rather than a collection of songs. At times, it reminds me of Paul Simon’s African inluenced Graceland album (the breezy melody of “One (Blake’s Got A New Face” and the percussive “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”). Indeed, I think my favourite track is nestled at the end, “Walcott” has this amazing chiming sound which is either a piano played really far away of a very distorted guitar. When the second verse starts up, there’s a wonderful violin solo propelling it on. I hate recommending an album purely on the basis that it’s original and it stands out from the crowd, but Vampire Weekend really does sound different and it’s stuffed full of songs that have a lightness of touch about them which makes this album an intoxicating listen.

Vampire Weekend – Mansford Roof:

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