Verdict – 9.1
The quartet from Columbia University released their debut album in 2008, showcasing a young band, neither pretentious nor arrogant, but rather a happy, preppy group of guys with an interest in African music. They incorporate the feel of Africa into their songs and produce an album of Indie Pop gold. Never trying to be something it’s not, it invites similarities to the Strokes debut Is This It, a band so assured in what it is attempting to achieve, you are left with a strikingly impressive debut.
The songs are highlighted by lead singer Ezra Koenig, whose voice shines through the brilliant and simple production, with his lyrics rather abstract, conversational, witty and clever. His minor yelps and punk style even work perfectly. Album highlight, Oxford Comma, is a brilliant track, with the lyrics being so subtly clever (and somehow even referencing Lil’ Jon?). The line, “Take the chapstick, put it on your lips, crack a smile”, is a clever little lyric and a favourite of mine off Vampire Weekend. Also, to clarify the line, “Why would you lie about how much coal you have?” is a direct reference to the general example used for the Oxford comma (comma before an ‘and’);
“I have 100 pounds of iron, 50 pounds of steel, and coal.
I have 100 pounds of iron, 50 pounds of steel and coal.”
The oxford comma clearly making a difference, as the amount of coal is unstated in the first line, but specified in the second. But really, why would you lie about something dumb like that? Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?
The next track, A-Punk, is suitably named, a great punk-like track with distinctive vocals and is undeniably catchy. The album’s best track (well, my favourite anyway… Many to choose from) is the African influenced Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, with a brilliant and clean guitar riff, with amazing production giving it a perfect vibe. Walcott, is another standout, and the first song they made too. Made directly for the movie, Vampire Weekend, (the band name resulted from this) in which Koenig was starring in, which was about a boy named Walcott trying to save Cape Cod before a town invasion by vampires.
As with Is This It, pople tried to find a reason to dislike this album, to knock it down, but really, Vampire Weekend allowed for no such thing. You listen to it, you think, yeah it’s not bad. You then realise later it has been on repeat for the past three hours, and is only getting better. The album grows on you, and is just simply, likeable and enjoyable. Probably the most likeable, stereotypically un-likeable group of people (Ivy league graduates etc…) there are, and this album is virtually endlessly-replayable, and will definitely warrant a place on your iPod count for the most played songs. Seriously good.
Top Songs – Oxford Comma, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, Walcott