Modern Vampires of the City

Modern Vampires of the City

by Vampire WeekendVampire Weekend

CD

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Overview

At the time of its release, Modern Vampires of the City was touted as a "deeper" offering from Vampire Weekend. Though that downplays the equally heartfelt and clever songs on their first two albums, it's undeniable that Modern Vampires is less obviously showy than their previous work. Instead of Contra's bright eclecticism, they opt for a less audacious production style and smaller instrumental palette. Guitar, organ, harpsichord, and the occasional sample combine into a rarefied sound that suggests a more introspective version of their debut, especially on "Obvious Bicycle" and "Young Lion," which bookend the album with some of its most literal and insular chamber pop. Modern Vampires' quieter approach also showcases what might be most enduring about Vampire Weekend's music -- endearing melodies and carefully crafted lyrics. It also fits Ezra Koenig's preoccupations on this set of songs, chief among them the fact that we're all going to die. The band sums up all of this brilliantly on "Step," where the music's hip-hop beats and harpsichords reflect the allusions to Souls of Mischief and growing pains in Koenig's lyrics. Elsewhere, Vampire Weekend tones down the quirks that may have polarized listeners before; songs like "Everlasting Arms" and "Unbelievers" walk the fine line between cheery and grating so well that they could win over those who previously found them too peppy and preppy. Modern Vampires of the City's political allusions are also subtler than they were on Contra, where the band brandished them like college students all too willing to display their awareness of current events: Koenig sounds offhanded when he sings "though we live on the U.S. dollar/We got our own sense of time" on "Hannah Hunt," and even the album's most overtly political song, the darkly verbose "Hudson," adopts a more historical stance as it incorporates everything from 17th century explorers, pre-war apartments, and exclusive New York neighborhoods into its meditations on fate versus free will. However, Vampire Weekend can't stifle their exuberance completely, and the album's louder moments stand out even more vibrantly against the subdued ones. "Diane Young"'s brash, buzzy mix of doo wop, surf, and punk feels like a nod to Contra as well as Billy Joel's "You May Be Right." On "Finger Back," Koenig sings "I don't wanna live like this, but I don't wanna die" with so much joy that it celebrates life as much as it contemplates mortality. Ultimately, Modern Vampires of the City is more thoughtful than dark, balancing its more serious moments with a lighter touch and more confidence than they've shown before. Even if Koenig and company fear getting old, maturity suits them well.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/14/2013
Label: Xl Recordings
UPC: 0634904055622
catalogNumber: 40556
Rank: 33217

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Vampire Weekend   Primary Artist
Brendan Ryan   Accordion
Fanny Franklin   Background Vocals
Elizabeth Lea   Trombone
Jeff Curtin   Drums
Rostam Batmanglij   Banjo,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Shaker,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Chris Baio   Bass,Group Member
Ezra Koenig   Piano,Vocals,Group Member
Angel Deradoorian   Background Vocals
Danny T. Levin   Trumpet
Chris Tomson   Drums,Group Member
Seth Shafer   Tuba
Adam Shatz   Saxophone

Technical Credits

Ariel Rechtshaid   Composer,Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus   Sample Source
Chris Kasych   Pro-Tools
Jeff Curtin   Engineer
Rostam Batmanglij   Composer,Lyricist,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,drum programming,Art Direction,Brass Arrangment,Cover Design
Ezra Koenig   Composer,Lyricist,Art Direction,Cover Design
Angel Deradoorian   Vocal Arrangements
Matt de Jong   Booklet Design,Layout
Juan Pieczanski   Engineer
Nick Rowe   Engineer
Chris Tomson   Composer
Dave Schiffman   Engineer
Alex John Beck   Band Photo
Shruti Kumar   Score Copyist
Neal Boenzi   Cover Photo
Michael Harris   Engineer

Customer Reviews