Review: Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend Caps a New York Musical Triology

Our Rating

It was as if they appeared tailored and ready made by Wes Anderson himself. Vampire Weekend, the New York natives whose sound is as recognizable as an Anderson film is visual, released their third album Modern Vampires of the City this past May on XL Recordings. It was the follow up to the 2010 release of Contra. Modern Vampires is arguably their best album to date, with gospel like choruses and rockabilly vibes. Winning over both fans and critics alike, the band took home the 2014 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, a second nomination and their first win.

The band has presented their third studio effort as the capping act to a trilogy. Though Modern Vampires is cohesive in sound its predecessors, their lyrics have progressed with a coming of age acceptance rather than defiance since their Columbia college days in protest of an Oxford comma. The album has distinct nuances similar of that to Paul Simon and even Van Morrison. “Finger Back” has an up beat tone and drum introduction which is reminiscent of the bands first single “A-Punk.” But as far as similarities go, it seems as though Ezra and the boys have left their twenty something’s in the past, and their lyrics are proof of just that.

The album itself seems to be a proclamation of “sense and sensibility” with allusions to religion as well as a generational remarks on hopeless job opportunities. On the albums first track “Obvious Bicycle,” frontman Ezra Koenig sings, “You ought to spare your face the razor/Because no one’s gonna spare their time for you.” Vampire Weekend has a knack for producing more than just catchy lyrics and tunes that stay forever looped in your head. “Diane Young,” the first single from the album as well as “Ya Hey,” continue this blissful tradition of a subconscious soundtrack for fans and listeners.

Diane Young, or “dying young”, is in essence what comes to mind when one think of Vampire Weekend, collared pastel shirts, and boat shoes, as they sing of Kennedys and Saabs. They don’t seem to shy away from this image, and you can’t help but want to join them in their world of song led protagonists. “Ya Hey,” catches you off guard as you find yourself helplessly singing “Oh, sweet thing, Zion doesn’t love you / Babylon don’t love you / But you love everything.” As if Koenig’s voice is leading youthful listeners from the exodus that are our college years. Ya Hey is followed by Hudson, possibly the bands first and darkest symphonic hum of a track, with ominous ticking and marching band rhythmic drumming. The bands take on the death of Henry Hudson gives one a whole new perspective on eighth grade social studies.

While the band is set to headline Governors Ball this coming June on Randall’s Island in New York. They are also set to play the city’s notorious Roseland Ballroom in April, before the venue closes its doors. The show will be live streamed by Amex UNSTAGED.

Steve Buscemi, star of Boardwalk Empire and for his iconic role in the Big Lebrwoski, will be directing the show. In their first meeting leading up to the show Buscemi has said, “I think you guys music is really smart and it’s, very catchy… but I don’t always understand the songs.” While the pairing of the famous New Yorkers seems more than appropriate, one can only hope it will lead to bigger and greater screens, Wes Anderson I’m looking at you. For now one can dream.

Montclair State | New Jersey

The Breakdown

Chloe Motisi

Chloe is currently a Television and Digital Media major with a concentration in TV Production at Montclair State University.