Vampire Weekend

Modern Vampires of the City

BY Stephen CarlickPublished May 10, 2013

After the eager, school days feel of their debut and the worldly influences of Contra, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig has called Modern Vampires of the City a return home, of sorts. It makes perfect sense; the album is both more mature and personal than anything they've done previously, providing a ruminative, thoughtful take on love and death seen through the prism of temporality: "Though we live on the U.S. dollar, you and me, we got our own sense of time," he sings on "Hannah Hunt"; "You and I will die unbelievers, tied to the tracks of the train" ("Unbelievers); "Wisdom's a gift, but you'd trade it for youth," from gorgeous first single "Step." It's not all misery and melancholy, but even on the band's up-tempo rave-ups ("Diane Young" and "Finger Back"), the tone is deep and thoughtful. Modern Vampires of the City is also the band's most meticulously arranged and produced album. While cathartic moments of release abound, for the most part, Rostam Batmanglij and co-producer Ariel Reichstadt opt for understated beauty, such as the piano melodies on the verses of "Ya Hey," elegant, string- and harpsichord-aided centrepiece "Don't Lie," and melancholy dirge "Hudson." The gentle optimism of closer "Young Lion," with its refrain, "You take your time, young lion," caps a cohesive and stirring third album that, in a fairer world, would silence any naysayers who still reduce this band to a polo and a pair of Keds.
(XL Recordings)

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