Saturday, January 23, 2010

Album Review: Vampire Weekend- Contra

Score: 7.75/10

I was never convinced by Vampire Weekend. Their self-titled debut album was indie rock's equivalent of the Cold War- in that the country was swarmed by hype and anticipation, but the final product lacked the expected explosive product. Well "Contra" is that nuclear holocaust. Of course, there are those that would call the new album the band's second masterpiece. "Vampire Weekend" was well received by critics across the spectrum, which I find somewhat hard to fathom. Retrospective mud-slinging aside, it cannot be argued that VW really stepped their diversity game up in their latest offering. The most noticeable changes of direction are seen in the M.I.A.-sampling of "Diplomat's Son," "California English"'s autotuned warbling, and the surprisingly handsome crooning Ezra Koenig whips out on the semi-title track, my personal favorite. In contrast to the mild and "kind of on time" drums of "Vampire Weekend," "Contra" unleashes the beats in a different way: BIG. With the thundering drums of "Giving Up The Gun" and the Lion King-on-808s "Horchata," VW creates a more cohesive and stable album while simultaneously maintaining almost extreme multiformity. Contra is by no means a perfect album, but it definitely made me believe a large portion of the hype surrounding the quintessential buzz band.

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