184. Vampire Weekend - ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ + Park Avenue

Vampire Weekend - ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ + Park Avenue

Ingredients: 3 ounces gin, 1 ounce pineapple juice, 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, 1/2 ounce orange curacao.

Mixing Instructions: Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled couple glass and serve.

Notes: It’s hard to think about Vampire Weekend without some sort of collegial association. This angers me because I know the whole thing is overblown, yet it’s tough to shake the music media mind morph. Fans and critics of their 2008 debut each zeroed in on the boat-shoed Ivy League air that flowed through their music; fans lauding them for putting their brains to use in their songwriting, critics dismissing them with vague accusations of yacht club elitism. Regardless, the college vibe flowing through their debut was distinctly undergraduate. It was easy to imagine them playing these songs in the quad while philosophy students drunkenly debated reality next to the Zeta Tau bake sale.

Their third studio album, on the other hand, is the band’s PhD theses — their 10,000 hours album.  Leaving behind the Afro-pop cheekiness of their youth they create a sound that is more round and ear-pleasing, while still retaining the lyrical sharpness and instrumental complexity that softens even the most critical listeners.  Songs like “Step” “Hannah Hunt” and “Ya Hey” are all songs that ordinary bands could hang a career on, yet in the context of the album they show up simply as slightly brighter stars in a large constellation.  After their first two albums it was still possible to debate with some credibility the overall merits of the band…with this album one can make a cocktail, put the record on the platter and drink to the fact that the debate is over, they’re good.

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