The Seductive ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ – Vampire Weekend

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Album Review – Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend redefine independent artistry with mature third album “Modern Vampires of the City”. Co-produced by Ariel Rechtshaid and band member Rostam Batmanglij, the third full-length release from the indie rock quartet was inspired by New York City.

Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City
XL Recordings
Grade: A+

Vampire Weekend just made it that much more difficult for all other indie bands of the day. The New York group had already charmed a sizable legion of fans and critics with 2008′s Vampire Weekend and its irresistible follow-up 2010′s Contra, both gold-sellers. But the third album, Modern Vampires of the City, is on a lofty new plane.

What Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio and Chris Tomson created on Modern Vampires of the City is an opus full of breadth, maturity and adventure. The record is a cavalcade of sonic soldiering, a collection of a dozen tunes that explore the high and low soundscapes of the iconic place the guys call home. Lyrically the record name drops Harry Hudson and The New York Times while it explores love in an uptown falafel shop, the engulfing melancholy of church organs and haunting choirs, and the euphoric rush of synthesizers in interval mode. They speed up into breathless paces before they slow down again for a breather.

One of the most impressive aspects of Modern Vampires of the City is the production by Batmanglij and Ariel Rechtshaid. Koenig’s voice is so brilliantly mixed with the textured and sometimes intricate instrumentation. His singing is clear, crisp and upfront. We hear the piano, the trumpet, the trombone, the tuba, the strings, the bass, the drums, the guitars, and even the banjo. Nothing is cluttered; this isn’t a record over-washed in cascades of compressed sounds.

Vampire-Weekend-Modern-Vampires-of-the-City-300x300But yes, the immediate songs are brimming with hooks and melodies. I’m talking about “Diane Young,” “Don’t Lie,” “Unbelievers,” “Everlasting Arms” and the totally catchy “Ya Hey.” This time, though, there’s a much more sophisticated air to the choruses than we heard on Contra, which is perhaps the band’s poppiest disc. Yet on the other side of the spectrum, Vampire Weekend enthrall us with gorgeous dirges such as “Hudson,” “Young Lion,” “Hannah Hunt” and the quietly rhythmic opener “Obvious Bicycle.” Also, we have “Step,” an ethereal ballad that borrows inspiration from such disparate artists as ’90s New Jersey rapper YZ, Oakland, California rap group Souls of Mischief, ’70s soft rock band Bread and the late R&B-jazz saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr.

There are so many audible rabbit trails here that you’ll discover something new with each listen. Modern Vampires of the City was recorded in New York, Los Angeles, Hollywood and Martha’s Vineyard after Vampire Weekend took a much needed break following the extensive Contra tour, which stopped at Dallas’ House of Blues in April 2010. It is a rare record that actually ups the creative ante of a buzz band that could’ve easily lost its way after the initial critical and commercial headiness. These guys just redefined independent artistry.

Published on Mar 18, 2013

From the new album ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ out May 13th/14th. Pre-order now: http://smarturl.it/mvotcpreorder

More info: http://vampireweekend.com

Music by Rostam Batmanglij and Ezra Koenig, lyrics by Ezra Koenig, 2013 Vampire Weekend Music(ASCAP)/Imagem Music. Lyrics reproduced by kind permission. This composition contains elements from ‘Aubrey’ (Gates). Published by Kipahulu Music. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ‘Step’ interpolates a vocal melody from ‘Aubrey’ by David Gates, and lyrics from YZ’s ‘Who’s That Girl’. Thanks to YZ’s ‘Who’s That Girl’ for our hook “Every time I see you in the world you always step to my girl.”

Modern Vampires of the City:
01 Obvious Bicycle
02 Unbelievers
03 Step
04 Diane Young
05 Don’t Lie
06 Hannah Hunt
07 Everlasting Arms
08 Finger Back
09 Worship You
10 Ya Hey
11 Hudson
12 Young Lion

Vampire Weekend Tour Dates:
03-13-16 Austin, TX – SXSW
04-12 Las Vegas, NV – The Cosmopolitan *
04-14 Indio, CA – Coachella
04-16 Davis, CA – Freeborn Hall at UC Davis *
04-17 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater *
04-21 Indio, CA – Coachella
05-08 London, England – The Troxy
05-10 Paris, France – Casino De Paris
05-15 Boston, MA – Agganis Arena
05-16 Toronto, Ontario – Sony Centre
05-17 Detroit, MI – The Fillmore Detroit
05-19 Kansas City, MO – Midland Theater
05-20 Denver, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre ^
05-21 Salt Lake City, UT – Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
05-23 Portland, OR – Keller Auditorium
* with Tanlines
^ with Of Monsters And Men

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