Blake Snow

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Vampire Weekend is avant-garde

Vampire Weekend
I like Vampire Weekend. A lot. I’ve listened to their eponymous debut album at least 30 times in the last four days since first discovering it on Friday (Thanks, David!). It is talented, fresh, clever, catchy, concise, smart, dance-inducing, daring, abnormal, and familiar all in one. It’s the “newest” kind of Rock N’ Roll I’ve heard in 10 years.

If you like Paul Simon afro-pop, you might like this. If you like Operation Ivy, you might like this. If you like the Beatles, particularly Elenor Rigby strings, you might like this. If you like Peter Gabriel, you might like this. If you like the Strokes sans distortion, you might like this. If you like low-fi Coldplay, you might like this. If you like Irish folk songs, you might like this. If you’re tired of lengthy tracks, you might like this. If you appreciate stereo sound, you might like this (headphones, get!). If you have a sense of humor, you might like this.

It’s been said that imitation is the ultimate form of flattery, and Vampire Weekend pays tribute to several with DJ-like dexterity and flawless execution which is never forced. The end result feels glaringly new, even if it uses noticeable ingredients.

I can’t comment on the immense level of buzz this NYC-based quartet enjoyed since forming just two years ago in a Columbia dorm-room, because I wasn’t exposed to it (read: I don’t follow music, I just listen to it). In any case, strip away the hype, and you’re left with a delightful collection of 11 bouncy songs from people who obviously know what they are doing, even if they generously recycle ideas.

Drums sizzle, and often sound more like percussion than actual drums. Guitar is used regularly, though sparingly. Basslines are driving, and often the center of attention during first verses. The organ, synth, and string work is unthinkably melodic. And the vocals are crooning, soulful, and refreshing, even if they sound brazenly similar to the aforementioned Simon.

Vampire Weekend, already dubbed the band of the year by Spin Magazine, is more than deserving of the hype. These guys are the real deal, even if you think cardigans, boat shoes, and privileged Ivy-leaguers shouldn’t be allowed (and who can say that’s been done before?). Though far too early to tell how prolific they’ll end up being, these lads are brimming with promise, and I’m anxious for more.

In short, Vampire Weekend has a legitimate shot at being album of the decade. Prove me wrong.

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See also: A-Punk [YouTube]