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85 of 110 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SMART INDIE POP FOR A WEEKEND IN CAPE COD & BEYOND (3.9 stars)
A daunting task reviewing a disc that has already been hailed by many as the first important disc of 2008. Such is the case of the debut from Vampire Weekend, 4 Columbia students gone preppy-indie to catch the eyes and ears of David Byrne, Lou Reed and aging hipsters alike.

It was a few months ago when I first read David Bryne's glowing review of their highly...
Published on January 31, 2008 by Cary S. Whitt

versus
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shelf life unknown
I don't quite know what to make of this stuff. Fun, light airy African/pop-influenced music made by the half-shaven (or unshaven), young-looking guys you see at 24-hour coffee establishments wearing sweaters and skinny jeans. I'm probably "supposed" to like it this year but by next year regard it as a passing fad. But do I actually like it?

The short answer...
Published on June 2, 2008 by P. Opus


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85 of 110 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SMART INDIE POP FOR A WEEKEND IN CAPE COD & BEYOND (3.9 stars), January 31, 2008
This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
A daunting task reviewing a disc that has already been hailed by many as the first important disc of 2008. Such is the case of the debut from Vampire Weekend, 4 Columbia students gone preppy-indie to catch the eyes and ears of David Byrne, Lou Reed and aging hipsters alike.

It was a few months ago when I first read David Bryne's glowing review of their highly circulated CD-R, so naturally I was cautiously interested to say the least. Like with many other early-praised NYC bands (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Strokes, Clap Your Hands, The National, Interpol, MGMT), Vampire Weekend meet most of the expectations head on, and give us a few surprises in the process. The first of which is a pretty obvious nod to Afro-pop stylings as well as a love for Paul Simon and (naturally) later Talking Heads recordings.

The first track is the lead single, Mansard Roof (google it). A track as studious as it sounds, with tight changes, nice lyrics, and crisp melodies, a perfect pop moment that would make fans of Belle and Sebastian squeal into their book bags. The band then up the ante with Oxford Comma, again, just as collegiate friendly, but with a little more bite to it. In it they even manage to drop a well-pronounced F-bomb and make it sound like the Queen's English. The overall result is my favorite track off the disc. The song A Punk (months already on itunes) continues the impressive string of songs at three now, A Punk carries a bit more Strokes flavor to it in its brevity and faster pacing, but its pace doesn't seem foreign at all. The Paul Simon-isms finally rear their head with the track Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa. I immediately think of You Can Call Me Al, with that overbearing saxophone and stop-start melody. Even though that maybe be purely unfounded, I'm pretty sure others will hear what I'm talking about. Maybe it's the worldly guitar line, or it could be the vocal stop-start of the verses? After it's all said and done, it's nothing the hipsters won't be able to swallow. M79 brings in a harpsichord sounding synth as its calling card and does so without becoming annoying. Campus is another Stroke styled stroke, right down to the melancholy and wishful tone of the lyrics and for me another one of the better songs. A few more tracks that don't quite impress as much, fill the gaps until the album's closer, The Kids Don't Stand a Chance. The track adds a little bit of reggae into the repertoire but again, it isn't enough to turn me completely off. It just somehow works for these guys, call them lucky or smart, or both.

If anything, the afro-pop, New England fashion sense (docksiders), and even the reggae, pump up the irony of this very collegiate group of boys and their appeal to fans of all types of music, especially indie music. It may be a stretch to say everyone will like some part of this record, but I found most of it pretty darn enjoyable and that in this day and age is getting more rare than not. So not a perfect record, but I'll agree with the masses in calling it the first important record in a very young 2008. Have fun trying to get into their upcoming tour, I have a feeling it's going to be quite popular
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like it, April 25, 2010
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This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
Some of the negative reviews and comments for this band are ridiculous. People are saying they're hyped, preppy, talentless, ripoff artists. Blah Blah Blah
I don't care about the industry,the record label, what's indie or not, who they sound like (or try to sound like), what they look like, the band name, ect. All the music snobs out there annoy me. If you don't like the album fine. Critique the band's music if anything. Save all the BS. Vampire Weekend is catchy. The songs get stuck in my head. That's how I choose what to listen to. The songs don't have much guitar, but the drums and rhythms are good. And the singer has a good voice. The new album Contra I like almost as much as this one. Hopefully they keep up the good work.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect weekend..., February 5, 2010
By 
Andrew Ellington (I'm kind of everywhere) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
Coffee house `sophistication' meets college rock `nerdy sheik' wrapped up in an atmosphere strait out of independent film goddess Sophia Coppola's wildest dreams; Vampire Weekend as a band is pretty much a dream come true.

My dream come true.

It's funny because I've never really given this breed of indie-rock a chance before a friend (ex-friend) gave me a copy of Vampire Weekend's debut album, and even then I was kind of certain it was going to disappoint and so it sat in my car for nearly a year before I gave it a shot. After I gave it one listen I was hooked and it stayed in my car stereo for quite a while. In fact, this album is one of my favorite albums in any genre. There is only one track is dislike (`One') and only three that don't grab me as some sort of perfection (`Mansard Roof', `Cape Cod' and `Bryn'), but those three are still great songs.

Yes, this album is a complete pleasure.

I'll get my feelings about `One' out of the way. I hate the chorus. I actually like the musical arrangement and the verse structure is fine (albeit a little bland) but that whiny delivery of `Blake's Got A New Face' is just like fingernails on a chalkboard to be. The song just doesn't work for me.

But that's just me.

Now, I really like `Mansard Roof', so when I say that is doesn't strike me as perfection, that is all I mean. I like it, but it isn't perfect. Maybe it's the length, because it album feels like half a song. I do think that it is a great way to open the album because it really lets you know who this band is and what you are in store for. Maybe the fact that it is preceded by the glorious `Oxford Comma' is part of the reason why this song doesn't wow me as much as it does others. I also really like `Cape Cod', although I find the verses to be less engaging than they could have been. The chorus is wonderful though (I love the falsettos, and the slight breakdown during "it feels so unnatural" is a small delight). I like the almost Irish folk sound to the opening of `Bryn'. Outside of that musical interlude (they use it after the choruses are sung as well) is the most interesting part of the song though. I don't really find the rest of the song to be that noteworthy; and like `Mansard Roof', it also feels like half a song. If it had been elaborated on a tad I may enjoy it even more.

Like I said, they are not perfect, but I still like them a lot.

So, now we have the perfection, or, as I should say, the rest of the album. `Oxford Comma' is utterly spellbinding. The musical arrangement is so chill yet it has a soft bounce that engages the listener, and the lyrical content (while explicit in parts) is weaved so magically by Ezra Koenig that it becomes an instrument all it's own. This is the definition of coffee house rock. `A-Punk' has that punk rock vibe (and the vocals have Sublime and the like written all over them) but there is still that chilled atmosphere (the chorus is simply brilliant) that makes this signature Vampire Weekend.

When I mentioned Sophia Coppola in the outset of this review, I was referring to her vision behind `Marie Antoinette', and I recall that film mostly because of the magnificent opening musical arrangement found on `M79'. This song is probably my favorite on the album, for it is so unique, so impressively visionary and just effortlessly captivating. Each and every part of the song is superb.

I love `Campus'. It captures college love beautifully, and it sounds impeccable. I love the different side of the band found on `I Stand Corrected'. There is a real subdued quality here that they play with flawlessly. Sure, they interject energy into the song in stages, but it shows that they understand how to play around within their own comfort zone. `Walcott' is just fun. It opens with high-octane piano keys and then carries on with such a catchy flow.

And I love Cape Cod by the way!

For me, there was no better way to end the album than to insert their own spin on reggae with the infectious (and equally outstanding) `The Kids Don't Stand a Chance'. I say reggae, and before anyone attacks me for that, you can't really deny the influence. Listen to the way he sings this song, as if he were sharing the stage with Bob Marley. Ezra carries this song to new heights, and the lyrical message is poignant and expertly delivered. They are always true to their own sound (thus the expressive musical arrangements) but they broke out of their box with this one.

Applause.

I don't think I can rave this album enough. I love their sophomore album as well, but it is not as good as this one. I could listen to this on repeat for days and days and days (I have and I will).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This feels so unnatural Peter Gabriel., January 16, 2009
By 
Jason Stein (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
Vampire Weekend in no way describes the music on this album. You might think this New England band would be all goth or punk, with deep depressing lyrics, but not so. This band is more like a preppy college pep rally sans the guitars that Weezer has.

In some ways the band shares similarities to some of my other favorite bands. For example, "Mansard Roof" is similar to the Talking Heads' "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel" from their 1978 "More Songs About Buildings And Food" album. Or "A-Punk" sounds similar to The English Beat's "Mirror In The Bathroom" from their 1980 "I Just Can't Stop It" album. Or "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" sounds similar to Paul Simon's "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes" from his 1986 "Graceland" album. Sometimes Ezra Koenig's singing reminds me of Adam Ant as well. They are all of these things, and yet they are none. They bring something new and refreshing to the table.

The non sequitur lyrics such as "Know your butler, unlike other guys". Or, "I see salty message written in the eaves". Or, "As a young girl, Louis Vuitton, with your mother, on a sandy lawn". Or even, "Pollination Yellow Cab". What's it all mean?! Doesn't matter because it's meta-communication. It means whatever you want it to mean. Clever, because how many young bands are this intellectually stimulating, or not stimulating at all? The music, the melodies, this is what you will remember, along with the quirky lyric or three.

Vampire Weekend are off to a great start, and it will be interesting to see where these guys go with their music assuming they all give up their day jobs! Four stars for their debut, leaving room for them to grow and produce a five star album in the future.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars... Fantastic Debut Album, June 21, 2008
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This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
Vampire Weekend built quite a buzz via the internet and in their native New York in 2007, and their debut album was hugely anticipated. The question was whether the album could possibly live up to the pre-release hype and expectations.

On "Vampire Weekend" (11 tracks; 34 min.), the band immediately crashes in with a great "Mansard Roof" (lasting all of 2 min.), and immediately moves on to "Oxford Comma", another great song. But the best is yet to follow, first on "A-Punk", another very short, but irresitable upbeat ska-flavored track, with a delicious bridge that features Mellotron (or so it sounds) and a thumping bass. After that comes "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa", with sounds lifted straight from Paul Simon's "Graceland" and irreverent lyrics (on being attrached to a particular girl: "But this feels so unnatural/Peter Gabriel too", haha!). Incidentally all of these first 4 tracks were a single in either the US and/or the UK, and as a bloc it makes for a perfect opening of this album. After that, things are a bit less urgent, although the music remains fab. Other highlights include "Campus" (with great lines like "Then I see you/You're walking cross the campus/Cruel professor/Studying romances/How am I supposed to pretend/I never wanna see you again"), "One (Blake's Got a New Face)" and the album closer "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance". In all, this is a terrific collection of songs. The band makes its point, and moves on to the next song, and before you know it, you find yourself playing this again and again. Just terrific, and this is sure to make my "top albums of the year" list later this year.

I hadn't seen Vanpire Weekend in concert yet, until I caught them at Bonnaroo this past weekend, and for some reason it didn't connect. The band sounded "off" for some reason. Or maybe it was the massive crowd that outsized the band's sound. I'll be seeing them again later this year at the Monolith Festival (a much smaller setting than Bonnaroo) and I'll be very interested to see how the band performs there. Meanwhile, their debut album is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shelf life unknown, June 2, 2008
By 
P. Opus (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
I don't quite know what to make of this stuff. Fun, light airy African/pop-influenced music made by the half-shaven (or unshaven), young-looking guys you see at 24-hour coffee establishments wearing sweaters and skinny jeans. I'm probably "supposed" to like it this year but by next year regard it as a passing fad. But do I actually like it?

The short answer is "yes." The long answer is "maybe," which may be why its taken me a while to offer my thoughts on it. Initially this is very appealing music, great stuff for parties and hanging out. It has the feel of Talking Heads without some of the quirkiness and polyrhythmic complexity, or Peter Gabriel (who is actually - and smartly - namechecked in one of the songs) without the heavy moodiness. But it has a sort of unquantifiable air of disposeableness about it too, as if its shelf life may expire at any time within the next year or so. The songs are fine on their own but all together are samey. There is one central idea here and, although it's clever and certainly well-executed, the impact is dulled as the band repeats it over and over. I am finding that these songs work better on mixes, split up amongst other things, rather than together in the album context. For me that's a warning sign. Not timeless stuff, but adequate for its purposes.

What I am wondering is what will happen next for this band. Where is there to go? They do one thing very well. Will they try two or three things on their next album? Focus more on songwriting than sound (that is what I'd probably suggest for these boys)? Do the same thing again and get lambasted by critics? Your guess is as good as mine. While it will be interesting, I have some doubts as to whether I'll even care by the time phase two is rolled out. Then again, I have been proven wrong plenty of times before...
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Indie Pop Perfection, September 16, 2008
This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
I've really had enough of people criticizing this band because of how simple and "poppy" their sound is. Creating quality, ridiculously catchy pop songs is an art in itself. These guys write infectious pop songs, and they keep things interesting musically too by adding beautiful string arrangements, synths, and quirky, creative drumming. This is a solid album that, as with any truly good album, does not necessitate the use of a "skip" button. I've listened to this record dozens of times and it still holds my interest with every listen. This band is not the most innovative indie band on the scene, but that's obviously not what they are going for. If you want music that is more unique sounding, or less accessible, or whatever, then that's fine, it is out there. This, however, is just solid, fun, catchy music that really holds up over repeated listens. This band is light years away from the run of the mill pop-rock bands out there, and they have truly established their own voice in a flooded market.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Crazy, March 22, 2008
This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
Vampire Weekend. Self Titled? Creative. As I listened to the album I realized I constantly felt like I was in Garden State 2. I thought Zach Braff was gonna show up and say "Good Tunes, right?". I know "hipster" types will probably love this album more than getting asymmetrical haircuts, but I just don't get it. The music isn't "bad", but its just not great either. Its just kind of there. Perpetually going but not really doing anything. Its more like if paint drying had a theme song it would be Vampire Weekend. If my Grandma came over I might put on this album because I know there is no way it will give her a heart attack. That's kind of what this album is. It just is.

How can Vampire weekend make an album with out having any sort of crescendo? Its like they decided to do a concept album where they wanted to put lyrics to elevator music.

Don't get me wrong, I can see how people might enjoy Vampire Weekend. They have the "hipster" sound. Under produced, weird lyrics, the vocal track is pushed to the front,.....etc., but I usually like my music with a pulse.

At least Walcott is decent.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great, March 19, 2008
By 
E. Crites (Columbus, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
An impressive debut album, and yes it is pretty original- they sound a lot like the police and the shins mixed into one poppy sounding band- but while they are creative, only about 2 songs really stand out. All of the songs sound a bit the same, but it's not necessarilly a bad thing. The main problem, in my opinion, is that the album opener and closer (probably the two most important songs on any album) are pretty weak. But all in all it's definatly worth picking up for any indie fan, and I have high hopes for a great sophmore album.
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45 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This year's freshman-dorm album, April 24, 2008
By 
Eb (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vampire Weekend (Audio CD)
I've had a strange, irregular series of reactions to this band.

I heard that Vampire Weekend was the Hot New Thing, but didn't get around to investigating the music for awhile.

Then I heard they would appear on "Saturday Night Live" in another week or two, so I looked up their MySpace profile. I don't remember if I streamed more than one track, but "Oxford Comma" instantly knocked me out. Loved it. Still love it. The nifty inverted chords, à la Brian Wilson...the delightful hook of those goofy, sixth-interval jumps ("I've seen those English dramas to-OOH/They're cru-OOL").... I probably listened to that song a dozen times within a day or two.

But then I saw the group perform on SNL and...kerplunk. They were one of the "greenest" acts I've ever seen on the show. Came off like they'd been playing together for six months, tops. Just seemed like college dorks playing a local house party for beer, laughs and maybe a cute girl's phone number. They couldn't have been more "white boy," which is odd since their songs have such strong ska/calypso/African elements. And I didn't like how they even emphasized their nerdiness in such a contrived way, with the preppy sweaters, the repressed body language and all that. And...the little creeps didn't even play "Oxford Comma"! They were lucky to have a professional string section onstage with them, because I really don't think they could have handled this large-scale venue on their own.

Still, I bought the album anyway. I put off grinding all the way through it for a couple of months, but I listened in bits and pieces.

I finally gave it a full, intense listen about a week ago. And it's simply not a keeper. The lyrics can be clever and the music is an interesting mix of styles, but that's not enough. "Oxford Comma" is still magical, but I don't enjoy any other song nearly as much. The sequencing is also a problem -- the first three tracks are the strongest, so the rest of the disc feels like a downhill slide.

Hearing this album, I'm immediately thrown back to my college days -- yes, I'm dating myself here -- when everybody around me "partied" with Zenyatta Mondatta and I Just Can't Stop It (two albums which I never bought myself). It's particularly hard not to think of the English Beat while hearing "A-Punk." Except the Beat and Police had some genuine rhythmic muscle and groove, whereas Vampire Weekend just daintily flits about. For beer, laughs and maybe a cute girl's phone number.

I'll be very surprised if this band sustains its buzz with future releases. They're probably nice guys, but they're a hype all the same.

This year's freshman-dorm album. A year or two ago, maybe it was the Shins, Death Cab for Cutie or Rilo Kiley. Now it's Vampire Weekend. Next year...who knows.
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Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend by Vampire Weekend (Audio CD - 2008)
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