Vampire Weekend: Contra Review

vampire weekend coverHow many Bands let you embed their new album’s stream in your blog or website? Not many, and it’s proving a great marketing tool and means of marketing for Vampire Weekend who release their second album ‘Contra’ this week. ‘Contra’ is the follow up to their debut, Vampire weekend which was released in January 2008.

The album starts off with ‘Horchata’, a track made available for free download in October 09 and being honest, got a few plays on my show on DCUfm’s Culture Cafe. It’s a pretty raw, rhythm led track with harmonious choirlike  backing and refrain. Their African music influence is quite apparent here. Can someone tell me what Horchata tastes like please?

White Sky is an uptempo track about Manhattan. The rhythmic nature of the nature will have you swaying along before you know it. Ezra Koening’s vocals seems so delicate in places, adding to the charm.

Holiday is another uptempo features the band’s signature guitar sound in full effect. California English, is sung in almost a Caribbean accent, a bit weird but its a tracks played at break neck spped and has a really nice string/vocal break in the middle.

Taxi Cab is a slower tempo’ed song, with a more subtle rhythm section than the previous tracks. A simple piano add a childlike essence to this, add in a harpsichord and this gives an almost early eighties but timesless sounds. I like this a lot.

Run features an almost Calvin Harris like synth sound and builds up nicely. However the lack of a decent chorus lets this down a bit, I think that while the band are good at what they do, the chorus to singalong to provides not only a fan pleaser but also is a key to radio play.

The first single from the album Cousins, is a manic rhythmic and vocal bash and at 2 minutes 20 seconds is a radio friendly time. All good here.

Giving up The Gun, seems to be in a league of its own here, a nice rhythmic pattern, decent build up , melodioc, catchy. Best track on the album.

The Diplomat’s Sun clocks in at a lengthy 6.01, and has a nice sample, synth intro, it has an almost reggae beat. Just over 3 minutes into the track the rhythm changes, slows down and definitely becomes reggae before becoming more uptempo again. It happens again later with the addition of a string section.

The Final track, I think you’re a Contra is a classic album closer, a lament where vocals and strings take center stage. The track becomes more uptempo about 45 seconds from the end.

It’s not a bad album, just a bit Hit and Miss. When Vampire Weekend hit, the have it very right, as with Giving up The Gun, some of the tracks make you wish they did them slightly differently.