The modern, thinking indie rock fan’s band of choice, Vampire Weekend return from extended leave with their third album. While MVOTC doesn’t represent a seismic leap from their earlier material, the general feeling is of a much more considered collection, with greater emphasis on song craft.
The immediate highlight is first single Step, in which frontman Ezra Koenig seems to draw inspiration from early 90s hip-hop collective Souls Of Mischief’s Step To My Girl. That’s not as strange a reference as it sounds; throughout the record, Koenig’s tricksy wordplay has more in common with the rap world than any of his indie peers. It’s as if a character from Walt Stilman’s Metropolitan has somehow been blessed with the gift of intuitive flow. Likewise, the production is notably influenced by developments in urban music. This, combined with Koenig’s increasingly Nilsson-esque ear for a melody, makes for a very strange mix indeed.
Yet somehow it works and, when it gels, MVOTC is a very satisfying record. They’re still prone to the odd slightly hysterical yelp-fest that quickly proves wearing (Diane Young and the beginning of the VW-go-Stars In Their Eyes Animal Collective of Worship You), but this is a real step in the right direction.