Vampire Weekend. Just hearing the name, I pictured a heavy metal band dressed in black and singing about Satan and death. Needless to say, I was very surprised when I listened to their CD and heard the upbeat, ska/indie rock that is Vampire Weekend.
The band’s unusual name was taken from an amateur movie made by the singer, Ezra Koenig, in college. He and drummer Chris Tompson collaborated in earlier bands. They were later joined by Rostam Batmaglij (keyboard) and Chris Baio (bass).
Despite their strange band name, these Columbia graduates have produced a very enjoyable album. Their music has African pop and Western classical influences, which you can really hear in songs like “M78.” This song features a funky African drum beat, vaguely familiar classical string melody, and a pop-like guitar riff.
They also have slightly more conventional songs like “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance,” which is one of my favorites.
Although the tempo is slower, it still retains the energy and enthusiasm present on the rest of the album. Their most famous tracks, “A-Punk” and “Oxford Comma,” both feature catchy (though not deep) lyrics. The chorus of “A-Punk,” “Look outside at the raincoats coming,” certainly isn’t notable for deep insight, but when mixed with the pleasant, almost reggae music, it creates a fun song, even if the lyrics don’t make much sense.
The band is still slightly obscure, which I believe adds to their appeal. But their popularity has been growing at an astounding rate. They were named “The Year’s Best New Band” by Spin, and are the only group to appear on the magazine’s cover before the release of a debut CD. They’ve also graced the pages of Rolling Stone and Fader, and are a popular topic for bloggers.
I thoroughly enjoy listening to Vampire Weekend, and can’t wait to hear more from this up-and-coming band. I’d recommend this CD for anyone looking for music that is slightly exotic and off the beaten trail.
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