Average User Score: 8.7Jun 13, 2013For a band that made its name by being the refreshingly unique, Afro-pop-influenced group that birthed the rambunctiously catchy single “A-Punk,” you’d think Vampire Weekend would have run out of ways to continue evolving.
You might think that, but you’d be wrong.
On 2013’s “Modern Vampires of the City,” the quartet of fresh-faced East Coast rockers have perfected their almost-purposefully imperfect sound and created what is the band’s most mature album to date.
Don’t be fooled, though; the record is still filled with frontman Ezra Koenig’s classic pseudo-nonsensical lyrics, rhythms that will have you tapping your feet and musical motifs that sound like they’ve been lifted from a 17th-century baroque piece.
Still, the group whose prior releases embodied the sheer liberty of youth seems to have taken a large step forward into the realization that as life goes on, drinking horchata in a balaclava and gazing out the window into an Ivy League courtyard start to seem less and less important.
On “Step,” the restrained, introspective first half of the album’s dual-lead singles, Koenig sings of youth but from an entirely different perspective than on prior releases. “Wisdom's a gift, but you’d trade it for youth,” he croons.
Similarly, on the dreamlike, borderline-stream-of-consciousness track “Hudson,” the singer again takes a stab at Father Time. “The time has come, the clock is such a drag All you who change your stripes can wrap me in the flag,” he chants all before transitioning seamlessly into the piano-laden “Young Lion,” where Koenig, in a hushed tone, repeatedly sings the line, “You take your time, young lion.”
The album isn’t entirely filled with coming-of-age mantras about getting older, though. “Finger Back” has all the bounce of tracks like “Cousins” and “Walcott” (multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij absolutely shines on the album) and “Diane Young” (a not-so-veiled play on the words “dyin’ young”), is the perfect summer anthem especially if your summer is spent cruising with the top down of your dad’s old ’92 Saab 900 on your way to Montauk.
For all its quirks and oddities, Vampire Weekend has gone from the tongue-in-cheek, wanderlust-obsessed band you fell in love with and finally found a home while still managing to remain true to who they’ve been all along.
Full of heart and not afraid to take chances, “Modern Vampires of the City” proves that the band’s fleeting sound is absolutely permanent.
Rating: 9/10… Expand