Thursday, February 21, 2008
One of the most hyped albums of the year, Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut might not live up to every accolade bestowed on it by lonely internerds all across the superhighway, but it’s an impressive first outing on what should be a shaky premise at best: four pasty indie dudes taking a stab at Afro-pop. The Brooklyn quartet manage to make it work, partly because it sounds like a bunch of guys who quit their garage rock bands after their dads made them listen to Paul Simon’s Graceland. Lyrically, the band plays up their reputation as hyper-literate ivy-leaguers without being stuffy assholes about it, waxing pseudo-poetic on subjects like grammar, and name-checking a certain King of Crunk. The album drags slightly in the middle around “One,” a track with an electro-reggae vibe featuring what might as well be a spot-on impression of Sting, but the nearly flawless final three tracks more than redeem the band. Vampire Weekend are obviously astute students of pop music, and their debut is the proof that they’ve done their homework.