Now the boys are back with "Contra," which tweaks the band's sound while keeping the vocabulary and the sunny melodies in place. A new Vampire Weekend record means a new conversation about who has the right to record what music, whether it even matters, and whether the result is worth listening to. Here, a sampling of the latest "Contra" diction:
- From One Cynically Aped Cultural Milieu to Another, argues Gawker's Foster Kamer: "Brooklyn-bred Vampire Weekend's back with a new album, and new press lines to go with it: they've transitioned from their 'prep-chic' Ivy League linage image into ostensibly different 'California'-style brand identification."
- The Band Is Thinking One Step Ahead of You, suggests John Mulvey of Uncut: "How else should a bunch of rich American boys respond to rebel rock than with an album named after Reagan-backed right-wingers? Vampire Weekend might be neither authentic nor inauthentic, but they’re certainly not averse to playing with those ideas, or with exploiting the tension between them."
- People Only Hate the Idea of Us, pleads singer Ezra Koening in Paul Lester's Guardian feature: "Koenig has a theory that his most ardent detractors -- 'mostly,' he guesses, 'white, college-educated critics' -- are just using Vampire Weekend for some easy point-scoring. 'They don't often get the chance to be activists, so when they see us come along, it provides them with a brilliantly simple opportunity to be activists: 'This is an outrage! These people are exploitative!''"
- Sure It's Rich-Kid Rock -- That's Why It's Fun, says Chris Richards of The Washington Post: "While the band's members should be applauded for keeping it real, their appeal lies in the escapism they provide. They're a troupe of bons vivants maxing and relaxing in the throes of a failing economy."
- Actually, It's Just the Opposite, believes Jim DeRogatis at the Chicago Sun-Times: "Bandleader and primary songwriter Ezra Koenig has even less insight to offer while bragging of his groovy globetrotting: His idea of insight into our polyglot culture is to brag of drinking horchata, a milky Mexican concoction made from rice, while wearing a balaclava, a Ukrainian ski mask. Who can't relate to that?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.