Modern Vampires of the City

Modern Vampires of the City

by Vampire Weekend


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At the time of its release, Modern Vampires of the City was touted as a "deeper" offering from Vampire Weekend. While that's true to an extent, it downplays the equally heartfelt and clever songs on their first two albums. What is undeniable is that Modern Vampires is a lot less obviously showy than the band's previous work. They trade in Contra's bright eclecticism for a less audacious production style and smaller instrumental palette: guitar, organ, harpsichord, and the occasional sample combine into a rarefied sound that suggests a more introspective version of their debut, and the band bookends the album with some of its most literal and insular chamber pop on "Obvious Bicycle" and "Young Lion." Modern Vampires' quieter approach also showcases what might be most enduring about Vampire Weekend's music -- endearing melodies and carefully crafted lyrics. It also fits Ezra Koenig's preoccupations on this set of songs, chief among them the fact that we're all going to die. The band sums up all of this brilliantly on "Step," where the music's hip-hop beats and harpsichords reflect the allusions to Souls of Mischief and growing pains in Koenig's lyrics. Elsewhere, Vampire Weekend tones down the quirks that may have polarized listeners before; songs like "Everlasting Arms" and "Unbelievers" walk the fine line between cheery and grating so well that they could win over those who previously found them too peppy and preppy. Similarly, Modern Vampires of the City's political allusions are also subtler than they were on Contra, where the band brandished them like college students all too willing to display their awareness of current events: Koenig sounds offhanded when he sings "though we live on the US dollar/We got our own sense of time" on "Hannah Hunt," and even the album's most overtly political song, the darkly verbose "Hudson," adopts a more historical stance as it incorporates everything from 17th century explorers, pre-war apartments, and exclusive New York neighborhoods into its meditations on fate versus free will. Of course, Vampire Weekend can't completely stifle their exuberance, and the album's louder moments stand out even more vibrantly against the subdued ones. "Diane Young"'s brash, buzzy mix of doo wop, surf, and punk feels like a nod to Contra as well as Billy Joel's "You May Be Right," and Koenig sings "I don't wanna live like this, but I don't wanna die" with so much joy on "Finger Back" that it celebrates life as much as it contemplates mortality. Ultimately, Modern Vampires of the City is more thoughtful than it is dark, balancing its more serious moments with a lighter touch and more confidence than they've shown before. Even if Koenig and company fear getting old, maturity suits them well.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/14/2013
Label: Xl Recordings
UPC: 0634904055622
catalogNumber: 40556
Rank: 8697

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Vampire Weekend   Primary Artist
Brendan Ryan   Accordion
Fanny Franklin   Background Vocals
Elizabeth Lea   Trombone
Jeff Curtin   Drums
Rostam Batmanglij   Banjo,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Shaker,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Chris Baio   Bass,Group Member
Ezra Koenig   Piano,Vocals,Group Member
Angel Deradoorian   Background Vocals
Danny T. Levin   Trumpet
Chris Tomson   Drums,Group Member
Seth Shafer   Tuba
Adam Shatz   Saxophone

Technical Credits

Ariel Rechtshaid   Composer,Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus   Sample Source
Chris Kasych   Pro-Tools
Jeff Curtin   Engineer
Rostam Batmanglij   Composer,Lyricist,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,drum programming,Art Direction,Brass Arrangment,Cover Design
Ezra Koenig   Composer,Lyricist,Art Direction,Cover Design
Angel Deradoorian   Vocal Arrangements
Matt de Jong   Booklet Design,Layout
Juan Pieczanski   Engineer
Nick Rowe   Engineer
Chris Tomson   Composer
Dave Schiffman   Engineer
Alex John Beck   Band Photo
Shruti Kumar   Score Copyist
Neal Boenzi   Cover Photo
Michael Harris   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Modern Vampires of the City 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
sleepyheadx More than 1 year ago
Really great album. Honestly, Vampire Weekend never disappoints. A majority of the songs are somewhat slow or just chill, with the exception of a few upbeat songs. Definitely give this album a shot.