Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend

By: Dennis Cook

Some albums grow on you gradually but others charm instantly. The latter often lose their luster before too long but sometimes a record is so fully formed and possessed of some x-factor that it's both sweet and sustainable. Such was the case with Belle and Sebastian's 1996 debut, Tigermilk, and it might prove true of Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut. My Caddyshack heart wants to reject their boating shoes and Oxford commas but they're so flucking winning I can't bring myself to pull their crewneck sweater over their head.

Much has been made of their supposed African musical leanings but they're about as Motherland deep as No Doubt are Jamaican. It's a nice spice to what is essentially pop derived from early Talking Heads, The Fall, Violent Femmes and the aforementioned Belle and Sebastian. Clever, snarky and musically lithe, Vampire Weekend take the conceits of being rich and over educated and make them virtues. They critique the privileged world they emerged from with soft insight and a winning shuffle, complicating things with fab string arrangements and tubthumping percussion. Like another buzz band of recent years, The Arctic Monkeys, they're actually quite good despite the hype that might suggest otherwise.

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[Published on: 5/10/08]

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catphish007 starstarstarstar Sat 5/10/2008 07:57AM
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great cd for sure, but why did it take so long for the review? This has been out for months. Can readers submit reviews? At this rate, you wont post reviews for the cd's I'm listening to now for months. I cant believe there wasnt a paul simon reference.

matthau Sat 5/10/2008 08:49AM
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Very true brah...Vampire Weekend has Paul Simon's Graceland album written all over it. They do call their music "Upper West Side Soweto" so perhaps Paul Simon is their greatest influence.

n-1 starstarstarstarstar Sat 5/10/2008 02:45PM
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good job not pandering to the hottest thing yet not being an D*ck either, i like this review

Jenny Jen Sat 5/10/2008 04:31PM
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Jenny Jen

Solid review. Great CD, good mornings with this one.

aquariumdrunk starstar Sat 5/10/2008 11:54PM
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The Belle & Sebastian thing is a weird, completely left field, comparison. Great album, from a great band, but the review is pretty suspect.

Muffinman1 Mon 5/12/2008 08:35AM
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Isn't Hype supposed to suggest that things are good? At least thats what I thought Hype was.

snappy Mon 5/12/2008 09:19AM
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I think hype used to mean an alert to something good but the mechanism of the recording industry means, as a general rule, we get hype for Miley Cyrus because they have designated her a star not musicians worthy of praise based on the merits of their talents. Panic In The Disco is another example of hype over substance in recent years. That's my two-cents at least...

Lakai starstarstarstarstar Mon 5/12/2008 11:26AM
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good review, I liked this album when it first came out, but after repeated listening it doesnt hold up for me.

johnnygoff Mon 5/12/2008 11:22PM
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cooker can be a tad self-absorbed at times as the gonzo-jam writer, but he hit this one on the head.

"Vampire Weekend take the conceits of being rich and over educated and make them virtues."

rock on dennis. fuck me right? i deserve it.

spiderdonkey starstarstar Sun 5/18/2008 10:41AM
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matthau, thats is what I thought after hearing it a few times. I like the album...alot. However I don't like where they're heading, is it too soon to say that? They have 2 strikes against them in my book as far as bands are concerned. First they cancelled 3 days before Langerado this year to be on SNL (which hasn't been a watchable show for at least 15 years). Then I hear they're music playing at every mall in the Philly region since the album's debut. My final thought is that this album truly is Ezra Koenig's inspired take on Graceland but where do they go from here?