***** Never static, always evolving. The new Vampire Weekend album was only ever going to have minor similarities to its predecessors. What's most interesting is that it, arguably, bears just as much similarity to the debut record as it does with Contra. 'Step' and 'Diane Young' one after the other seems a bit unlike them, but nevertheless it is quite consistent. 'Finger Back', 'Don't Lie' and 'Hannah Hunt' seem like the other highlights but whenever I say this, I'm always wrong so lol to me reading this in the future :P There's plenty of potential in this. In retrospect, that's more important than the initial impression because (as I've implied) that changes so quickly. It's incredible that it's already album #3 (I hate to keep thinking back to this, but come on FF, it only took this band five years!!! :P) Nevertheless, I was anticipating this release and it did not disappoint, although the shift in sound will take some time getting used to. They're certainly one of those bands where you can REALLY tell what songs come from what album just by hearing them (like, where it's obvious :P). Anyway, pointless rant over.
**** With repeated listens I've grown to enjoy this album more and more and become less disappointed than I initially was. There are some wonderful moments here but it does peter out a little weakly; it'd be much better without the last two tracks, or with something better in their place.
**** I admit that I haven't heard much from Vampire Weekend before, so I came into listening to this album not knowing what type of music to expect.
This album contains a lot of slower stuff, balanced out with the occasional thrills, such as from "Diane Young" and "Finger Back". These were probably the album's best moments as well, but if it were all like that, it would probably be too much to handle in one listening.
Overall, considering pretty much every song on this album I rated a 3* or 4*, a 4* star rating is fitting for a mostly pleasant listening experience.
***** It's 2014, that means that "Vampire Weekend" came out NEARLY SIX YEARS AGO! It's quite impressive, the following that this band has quickly amassed. Now on album #3 with two of them going #1 in the US (despite still being yet to manage a Hot 100 charting hit at all). But rather than be a band content with the fanbase they've picked up at one stop, they seem content on growing into something bigger.
I was rather hesitant in listening to this because I was rather concerned it would be filled with all the 'BAYBA BAYBA BAYBA' that I could ever need in a lifetime and thensome (although perhaps it does anyway), but there is more to this. On one count, it seems that to an extent, they've tossed away the word salad like a pile of leaves which results in something genuinely thought provoking at times. The "Twilight" phase has been and gone and these vampires actually have things to say on life and death.
It was rather surprising to go through all of the year end lists for 2013 and find that the one album that seemed to crop up more than anything else was not "Random Access Memories", nor "Yeezus", nor "Reflektor", but this! Certainly a respectable feat for a band whose hype had seemingly at the very least peaked. I suppose it would be easier to accept if I weren't a fairweather fan at best. Although in that context it does make a bit more sense. After all, the problem I usually have is that they're far too hit and miss without much to justify the misses. In ways they haven't changed, but they have added an extra dynamic to this to make for a less jagged listening experience (apart from 'that' song). Take "Hannah Hunt" and sing it over the instrumental from "Horchata" and I'd probably find it unbearable, but the way they've done it this time, works well for them.
They certainly haven't lost their quirkiness naturally. I was rather surprised at how many tracks stood out for me when listening. "Ya Hey"'s hook should be annoying but it isn't, "Unbelievers" is still a catchy gem, "Hudson" fascinates and captivates me, and "Finger Back"'s just too energetic and fun.
The gloves are off.
Edit 9 months on: It really is just a rewarding listen, and feels like one of the Modern Classics Of The 2010s. The sonic variation in this album really seals the deal, and that's something I never thought I'd say about a Vampire Weekend album. It's up from non-descript 4* to a 4.8* Last edited: 19/10/2014 05:51
**** Habe mir das Album über Monate immer wieder angehört. Richtig begeistert bin ich nicht, aber die meisten Songs benötigen wirklich mehrere Plays für einen Aha-Moment.
Unbelievers und Step sind für mich die besten Songs (Note 5), die haben mir gleich sofort gefallen. Die anderen fand ich zuerst entweder langweilig (Obvious Bicycle, Hannah Hunt) oder nervig (Diane Young, Ya Hey). Jetzt nach über 10x Hören schon um Einiges besser. Nicht mehr als 4er Songs, aber gute 4er Songs.
Sicher ein abwechslungsreiches, instrumental vielschichtiges und interessantes Album, aber dass vielerorts vom besten Album des Jahres 2013 gesprochen wird kann ich nicht ganz verstehen. Aber allemal lieber Vampire Weekend als die Konkurrenz für diese Auszeichnung (Kanye West, usw.)