ALBUM REVIEW: Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend

New York quintet Vampire Weekend just dropped their third studio album “Modern Vampires of the City” in May and for those of you who wrote the band off as baby-faced Ivy-leaguers who were a one-trick pony (i.e. 2010’s “Contra”), prepare to be pleasantly surprised. “I wanted us to embrace our identity in a way. I wasn’t afraid of sounding like we had before in some ways, because I think there was an opportunity to go deeper than we ever had before,” said guitarist and keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij in an interview. “Modern Vampires of the City” is the third installment of a “trilogy”, as described by the band, and features some of Vampire Weekend’s most layered work to date.

The band doesn’t stray from their signature harpsichords and gospel piano for most of the album but Vampire Weekend explore new sounds with vocal filters and subtly whimsical soundscapes. There is definitely less pop and fewer electronic elements on this album than the last and instead features much more organic moments from the band, mostly notably on songs like “Hannah Hunt” and “Hudson”. These two drifting ballads showcase a slightly more stripped-down and raw performance, creating unforgettable and intimate moments on the album.

Vampire Weekend have definitely drawn from a variety of influences on this album, though the sound is much more organic, they haven’t completely abandoned the electronic elements their previous work featured. Up-tempo tunes like “Diane Young”, “Ya Hey” and “Finger Back” draw from early 50’s rock influences mixed with electronic sounds, both vocally and instrumentally. We think front-man, Ezra Koenig, definitely evokes some Elvis-eqsue vocals on standout single “Diane Young”, which is definitely an interesting choice seeing how most bands are drawing their influence from the 60’s nowadays. It is extremely refreshing.

“Modern Vampires of the City” is now available for purchase via iTunes/Amazon and for streaming on Spotify. Vampire Weekend is currently gearing up for a European tour before beginning their tour of the States in August.

Vampire Weekend - Diane Young