Vampire Weekend’s New Record Gets Dark

Or darker than their previous two efforts, but this is not a review

Vampire Weekend’s third studio album, Modern Vampires of the City was released today. Certainly living up to the hype, Modern Vamps is a sonically phenomenal album that expands on the bands repertoire of precise, catchy alt rock hits.

However, in the bands attempt to use this LP as a way to distance themselves from the sound that they are most well-known for, they fail. Not in a bad way though, it’s just that they are still Vampire Weekend and probably always will be.

Vampire Weekend consists of four main members: lead vocalist and guitarist Ezra Koenig, guitarist/keyboardist and backing vocalist Rostam Batmanglij, drummer and percussionist Chris Tomson, and bassist and backing vocalist Chris Baio.

The band was formed in 2006 at Columbia University and the quartet’s self-titled debut album was released in 2008 followed by Contra which was released in the beginning of 2010 and was later nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

In trying to sound different from their previous two albums and separate themselves in a way, the band used two experimental techniques.

These being pitch shifting and just an overall “spooky” vibe which was attained through the use of atmospheric sounds in the background which is indeed a nod to the higher production value and larger budget the band received to make this album.

Another aspect of this new record that everyone is making a fuss over is the cover art. Batmanglij who serves as the band’s designated graphic artists designs all the artwork for the album, he stated that the photo they used for this record is “an almost dystopian shot” of a polluted New York City shrouded in smog.

Taken by New York Times photographer Neal Boenzi in November 1966 looking South from the Empire State Building. Batmanglij believes the image could have been taken at any time in history going on to say that he thinks it could render “some kind of future.”

Which is exactly where this album is taken. This record is a leap forward for leading man Koenig and the rest of them in every way.

And although some will find this record to be classic Vampire Weekend with weird noises in the background, most will be completely turned on by Koenig’s newest.

-Jameson Doris

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