Monday 15 March 2010

Contra by Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend's Contra just gets better and better. As on their self-titled debut album (on which they already seemed a group fully formed), the band continue to create songs that are so instantly accessible, yet so crammed with detail, that, after the initial seduction, you're constantly discovering fresh elements. Contra's ten songs are little rollercoaster rides on which a variety of genres - rock, ska, pop, punk, reggae, folk - are dynamically and elegantly merged. Strong hooks lurch into more turbulent territory, only for the melody to be briskly reinstated. The wry, thoughtful lyrics - and Ezra Koenig's appealing, protean delivery of them - keep pace. My favourite track on the new album is always changing. Often it's "Run," with its galloping drums and briliant, blaring synths. Then it's the choppy, twitchy rhythms of first single "Cousins." Or the twinkly yet robust "Giving Up The Gun." Or "Taxi Cab," with its restrained harpsichord. Or the quiet, woozy closer "I Think UR A Contra". Well, I guess I love them all. This is a swell album, full of energy, surprises and delights.


  1. Yep, a uniformly excellent album this is. So far, no detectable filler for me at all, something very rare these days; I'd say the trimmed length does help! As you know, I'm fond of short albums, preferably within the old one-side-of-a-90-minute-tape limit. Contra is so short that it always leaves me wanting to play it again, which I do, quite a lot; it's often on repeat in my player. If pressed to choose a favorite, I'd go with "Run" or the title track.

  2. Yes, I think "Run" just takes it for me...

    As you know, I enjoy the "immersion experience" of long albums greatly. But trying to review three 20+-track records simultaneously (as I’m currently endeavouring to do) is proving, let’s say, a challenge…

    Thank God for the new Loudon which has just arrived… A “manageable” ten tracks …

  3. It was recommended to listen to Beach House and their album "Teen Dream," and in my research it says they have a very similiar sound to Vampire Weekend. Have you ever heard that album and what are your thoughts?

  4. I haven't heard that one - will check it out.