Monday, February 1

Album Of Last Month

Vampire Weekend 'Contra' (XL)

The trouble with assembling a great debut album is that ensuing the sell-out academy jaunts, afro-pop-enriching delirium and total sovereignty over untold end-of-year lists, the follow-up must be no less than equally significant. For NY's Vampire Weekend, anticipation is loftier than Burj Dubai - and they've only themselves to condemn.
Now, it should be warned that such distressing shivers of panic do present themselves following the first few spins. Nevertheless - and thank fuck there's a nevertheless - what originally sinks in as unsociable beat reggae and awkward blistering is in actuality newfangled Crispy M&M's pop cradling subtle nuances of utter indie sunniness, all of which happen to fashion 'Contra' into one of the year's very best efforts. Yes, already.
'White Sky' jounces like a Disney-up'd Carrie Bradshaw, all honeyed "aaaahhhhhhoooooooo"ing and Manhattan office observations. Frontman Ezra Koenig's fixation with the English speaker's syntax displays itself further in the instro-bolted friskiness of 'California English'. Though only he can make sense of his PDQ yammerings through 'Cousins' - but a euphonically advanced piece still and all. The twinkle-toeing 'Giving Up The Gun's plying of choristers to mark its end reminds you that 'Contra' is indeed a second album. And 'I Think Ur A Contra' - as they've saved the best 'til last - transmutes in character of Bright Eyes-era Conor Oberst attempting a Talking Heads chanty, with Koenig still talking the "You wanted friends with pools" but via a more "But I just wanted you" intimate anguish. Heck, it's as close to a love song these'll get.
See, 'Contra' so differs from 'Vampire Weekend' that it doesn't even feel like a sequel, yet it's so familiar that it just couldn't be anyone else. Squirrelly guitar lines and umpteen glitterati dissections of course, but this time they're even sweeter.

Best Track
I Think Ur A Contra, though go to iTunes if you want it!