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Monday, 11 January 2010

Vampire Weekend - Contra


Released 11th January 2010
(XL)

by Joe Nockles

Vampire Weekend’s sophomore album won’t change the world and it doesn’t really attempt to. When their eponymous debut hit indie dancehalls in 2008, it sent everyone into a bit of a spin. A strange preppy boy from New York was squarking at us about punctuation in a nice shirt and chinos while another americana incarnate fiddled about with a steel drum. Middle class white kids were doing world music rhythms and strangely, it worked. Follow-up album, Contra, meaning ‘opposed’, couldn’t be more disappointingly safe. It carries on the aesthetic of the first album and makes no deluge into controversy. There are two very good tracks that shine alongside their bland colleagues: “California English” (Warped vocals. Gorgeous strings. Incredibly cool. Not remotely sing-along-able) and “I Think Ur a Contra” (Luscious finale. Grand scale string arrangement. Smells a bit like that dreadful ballad from Little Shop of Horrors, but they pull it off).

Most importantly, Vampire Weekend need to realise that they’re a summer band. What on earth are they thinking releasing in January? Come back in six months and soundtrack our festivals, please.

4/10

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