I'm a bit behind on current music; I probably should've reviewed Vampire Weekend a couple of years ago, when there was so much hype about this album. The band just released their second album, Contra (debuting at #1 on Billboard, so maybe the timing is right after all), but the reason I'm reviewing this one now is because I noticed its appearance on many of the "best albums of the decade" lists that keep popping up. And I can see why, because the band's cleverly melodic "Elvis Costello meets The Shins meets Paul Simon circa Graceland" brand of bouncy, tuneful pop is extremely consistent (I'll therefore refrain from naming individual song highlights) and instantly likeable. It remains to be seen whether Vampire Weekend (that's a name you'll remember, no?) can keep it up, but on their debut album these preppy Ivy League grads delivered the goods. It's worth noting their backgrounds, because it's betrayed by their clever, quirky, literate lyrics, and musically the band's hybrid sound seamlessly intermeshes diverse influences such as spiky indie rock, lush chamber pop, and exotic African rhythms. The band themselves cheekily refer to their music as "Upper West Side Soweto," and though I wouldn't call any of these songs earth shatteringly exciting, this album is comprised of consistently charming, hook-laden little tunes that flat-out make me feel good.
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