Admittedly, I’ve never been a huge Vampire Weekend fan. There self-titled was pretty good at best, reminding me of not so hot Phoenix. There were some really cool songs, but many of them I felt forced at times and were littered with lyrics that could have been written by just about anyone. The songs were catchy enough, but really that was all they had going for them. They weren’t breaking new ground or doing anything incredibly interesting. This being said, there are now 3 tracks from Contra floating around the internet and 1 b-side. The songs are: Horchata, Cousins, White Sky and the b-side track is California English PT 2.The album tracks can all be found at the bands myspace and California English pt 2 can be found here.
The new songs, I think are all superior to almost everything on their self-titled released. The lyrical vapidness seems to be gone, as if lead singer Ezra Koenig figured out how to say what he wanted more poetically. He did an interview with Pitchfork recently where he discussed a lot of things about the new album, it was very interesting. The three album tracks actually have me looking forward to their new venture. The b-side to the first single, California English pt 2 is an entirely different animal for this band. It features vocals cut up and layered in an almost Animal Collective type way. I think it’s really great.
By far my favorite song is the first single, Cousins, an unorthodox, snare heavy romp that moves so quickly it will be over before you’re sure it’s really started. The song is catchy and features some catchy lyrics over a rapid and spastic marching band type snare line. The bridge, “you can turn your back on the bitter wood” is ridiculously catchy. The video is pretty cool too, you can watch it below:
Vampire Weekend seems like a band that has figured out how to be what they want to be. For this reason alone I will be giving their new album, Contra a listen when it drops on January 12th in the USA and January 11th everywhere else. If nothing else, the cover art is really cool.
[UPDATE: Check out my review of Contra here!]