On Disc: Vampire Weekend

Album: Vampire Weekend

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Vampire Weekend by Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
XL Recordings

4 stars

A unique combination of African musical influences and indie rock sensibilities, Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut album represents the birth of a new and unique sound.

Vampire Weekend describe its album as “Upper West Side Soweto” music (Soweto referring to an urban area in Johannesburg, South Africa), a style ironically originated from a quartet of Columbia University students.

The song “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” is the most indicative of Vampire Weekend’s range; it plays with complete effortlessness, despite being rife with percussion and world music traditions that echo the band’s influences.

The lyrical detail on “Campus” and “Mansard Roof” give credence to the band’s Ivy League vibe. Singing about everything from the urban warrior’s “kefiyyah” to the fall of the Argentine navy, it somehow manages to avoid sounding overly pretentious.

Instead, Vampire Weekend manages to borrow African instrumentals and combine them with smart lyrics to produce a strong debut.

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