Baroque faux-harpsichord and organ lines dot the album’s compositions, striking a hymnal feel both celebratory and somber.
Review by David Feltman
Vampire Weekend earned their success on upbeat, Afro-Cuban clave-inspired rockers, but its new album is far mellower than its predecessors. That’s not a bad thing. Modern Vampires of the City adopts an undeniably religious motif, evoking images of Catholic cathedrals and ritualized worship, both in title and lyrics, on tracks like “Unbelievers,” “Everlasting Arms,” “Ya Hey” and “Worship You.” Baroque faux-harpsichord and organ lines dot the album’s compositions, alluding to the band’s debut album while simultaneously striking a hymnal feel both celebratory and somber.
The album is subtle and intricately orchestrated. A mark of a truly matured band, Vampire Weekend hits fun and danceable grooves on tracks like “Everlasting Arms” without ever breaking a sweat. Everything on the album feels organic despite the obvious amount of toil involved in making such complicated arrangements.
For fans of the previous albums, don’t worry.The band doesn’t entirely hang up its rocker hat for these low-key, low-energy indie ballads. “Diane Young” draws from the poppiest of 80s pop songs and lead singer Ezra Koeing chomps at the bit on the galloping “Worship You.”
As always, Koeing’s hyper literate lyrics don’t fail to impress. Lyrics like, “The early day still flickers in your eyes. Oh, you oughta spare your face the razor because no one’s gonna spare the time for you,” perfectly illustrate a mood and a story in a few short strokes. Modern Vampires of the City certainly proves to be a departure, but it may arguably be the band’s masterpiece.