Vampire Weekend | First Impressions of Contra

The self-titled debut album of Vampire Weekend was widely accepted among indie band aficionados and average music lovers alike, having a style and freshness that we really had not seen in quite some time. With the incorporation of intricate piano parts and a little bit of harpsichord, Vampire Weekend made a unique impact on listeners. As a kind of intellectual’s reggae rock with its’ sweeping visuals and vocabulary more akin to a foul mouthed English major than a pop artist, Vampire Weekend captured the attention and adoration of fans, and those fans would go on to help propel the band to further success via personal blogs and websites. Vampire Weekend had “gone viral” by the end of the summer in 08’ and was plastered all over prestige music magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin, all claiming Vampire Weekend as thee band to watch out for.

Flash-forward to January 2010 and the release of the album Contra, it may be the band’s sophomore LP but is far from sophomoric. To be direct, Contra is as good as the first self-titled album, the reggae indie rock influences are still there as well as the mass appeal. Yet the tracks off of this album feel looser and reflect an attempt at a more intimate musical experience in comparison to their self-titled LP. This can be heard in the cuts Taxi Cab and the deeply orchestral I Think UR A Contra. As before the lyrics reflect the expressions of an unreformed academic, combined with antiestablishment undertones, think of the lyric from the track Run “we mostly work to live, until we live to work”. Other cuts off of Contra like California English, provide an interesting Auto-Tune performance from Koenig. As well the track Give Up The Gun has an enveloping intensity that other songs from the Vampire Weekend catalogue sometimes lack.

Side note: Does anyone know if that is Katherine Heigl on Contra’s cover?

Update (July 23rd 2010): It turns out that the model on the cover of the Contra album is Ann Kirsten Kennis and she is claiming damages upwards of 2 million dollars for the unauthorized use of the photo. The picture was taken all the way back in 1983 while Kennis was still a young fashion model. Vampire Weekend and company insist that they paid for the use of the Polaroid. But all that aside, at least we now know who the polo shirt sporting Contra cover girl is.  

Contra is due out Jan 12th 2010

Track List:

1. Horchata

2. White Sky

3. Holiday

4. California English

5. Taxi Cab

6. Run

7. Cousins

8. Giving Up The Gun

9. Diplomat’s Son

10. I Think UR A Contra

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