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Published on June 5th, 2019 | by voxx

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Vampire Weekend – Father Of The Bride

The New Yorkers let the sunshine in, cutting loose and opening up for their warmest, and weightiest, LP…

You can tell from the artwork, which resembles a rejected entry from a school competition to design a poster for the 1994 World Cup, that Vampire Weekend aren’t the tightly-wound sticklers they used to be. When 2013’s Modern Vampires Of The City marked the brilliant culmination of a taut trilogy of albums about youth and New York City, it was obvious that a reboot would be required, even before the departure of keyboardist and producer Rostam Batmanglij. Six years later, here comes phase two.

Father Of The Bride is longer (18 tracks), looser, less eager to impress and more American than its predecessors. Ezra Koenig’s voice and guitar alike have acquired a twang, especially on three rootsy duets with Danielle Haim, partner of the album’s producer Ariel Rechtshaid. ‘Harmony Hall’ may recycle an anxious line from 2013’s frantic ‘Finger Back’ (“I don’t wanna live like this/But I don’t wanna die”) but its rolling country-soul could hardly be more different. The album’s freewheeling, open-armed vibe throws up surprises such as the tie-dye noodling of ‘Sunflower’ or the exuberantly odd hybrid of flamenco and schaffel techno on ‘Sympathy’ but gravitates towards an organic intimacy that’s fertile new territory for Vampire Weekend.

Yet while the music scintillates, Koenig’s lyrics seethe with vivid images of danger and decay, from personal drama right up to the fate of the planet on the cover. This combination of sunlight and shadows recalls the beautiful neuroses of singer-songwriters in ’70s Los Angeles, trying to sing away the bad news, ensuring that Vampire Weekend’s prettiest album is also their weightiest.

- By Jake White


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