Vampire Weekend (XL)

cd_vampire.jpgSo, while everyone from frat boys to library clerks moving their buns to Vampire Weekend, what’s left for the serious music fan to appreciate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

On paper, I hate this band. Consider this: They’re a group of preppy guys who make music with woodwinds and hand drums and they have lyrics about girls wearing Louis Vuitton and going to college. Sure, I went to college, but these guys sound like the prepsters who loved bongos but were too rich to fake being hippies. Where’s the rock—I mean, the rawk?

Also, Vampire Weekend’s buzz has earned them comparisons to Paul Simon and The Police. I like Paul Simon, but doesn’t Wes Anderson have the Paul Simon indie monopoly? And while I’ve never been a Police fan, I have nothing against them. I guess it’s cool to be influenced by them, as long as no one becomes another Sting 20 years from now.

Having said that, here’s a disclaimer: The following positive review will be entirely void if any of the members of Vampire Weekend ever makes a lute album or appears in a Jaguar commercial.

Vampire Weekend has made a very good album. It showcases their preppy intellectualism, but it’s probably the first time since Kodachrome anyone could dance to smarty-pants rock.

The hand drums, keyboards, jerky guitars and drums work together to bring island rhythms together with African beats and new-wave guitars. Occasionally a string section drops by to add a little chamber-pop to the mix. With all this geography and genre-hopping floating around, the instrumentals sound like the blueprint for a surefire college radio hit.

So, while everyone from frat boys to library clerks moving their buns to Vampire Weekend, what’s left for the serious music fan to appreciate? What is there for the person who can see through the buzz and be aware that this music has been done before? The vocals are left.

The words aren’t particularly profound here, and they come off a bit pretentious at times, but they are wonderfully sung. Ezra Koenig isn’t a virtuoso, but he knows what tones to bring to the table in order to compliment the band’s various styles.

Overall, despite the hype, this is a good album by a great band. It’s good to the point where it will get even more buzz in 2008. There will be people who like it way too much and there will undoubtedly be a huge backlash. People will hate this band and in a year or so they’ll prove themselves with a second album. Until then, relax and enjoy the prep. B | Gabe Bullard

RIYL: Paul Simon, The Police

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