Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Modern Vampires of the City

this could be the best record of 2013...
"We know the fire awaits unbelievers
All of the sinners the same
Girl you and I will die unbelievers
bound to the tracks of the train"
                              - Unbelievers
New York City has given us many things, it helped to spawn Vampire Weekend in 2006. On May 14th this indie-rock-pop outfit gave us perhaps the best album of 2013 (Muchacho by Phosphorescent is right there too). It took me a couple of listens to come to this conclusion, but now I cannot wear it out. Each song has its own personality while never loosing site of the band's. Ezra has a forcible skill in writing words that are both prophetic and stinging. He also taps into that which helps us to identify with what he's singing. As a band, they have a knack for creating a sound that's catchy amidst the cultivation of their own identity. This record feels different, better, like the birth of an idea.

When a world originates through creativity and collaboration it allows for more of us to accept it, maybe because we think we understand it. Modern Vampires of the City has given us a path that has no end, only definitions of an end. There are times when I absorb the lyrics as though they are from my thoughts. Assimilation aside this record touches on the contemplations that surround me and the overarching state of affairs that we all try to escape from; self doubt, the world, cultural decline, travel, mistakes made, the past, what's next, faith, love and death. Twelve songs, speaking one after another, each possessing an identity to stand alone, yet cohesive as a collection. This may be their third release, but it's far from junior. 

My personal favorites are Unbelievers and Diane Young. Unbelievers borders between a preacher's sermon and a sort of rhythmic clamor, producing a hook which could become the narrative of an entire summer. I can only hope, dogmatic or not, that this track will speak to others. 

"I'm not excited, but should I be? Is this the fate that half of the world has planned for me? I know I love you and you love the sea. Wonder if the water contains a little drop, little drop for me?"

The latter of the two seems to be lurching into the David Byrne side of things, which is the ultimate compliment. Diane Young is more than a pun, it's playfully rambunctious with a dash of dread, wrapped in honesty. Who dares to go this route?

Irish and proud baby naturally                                    
But you got the luck of a Kennedy                               
        So Grab the wheel, keep holding it tight                                   
'Til you're driving off in the black of the night 
If Diane Young won't change your mind
Baby baby baby baby right on time

To Vampire Weekend, 
Thanks for giving me something substantial to wrap my head around when I'm trying to escape the down pressing grind. Your songs are infectious and thoughtful. I feel almost more connected when attempting to run away. Seeing the lyrics next to the cover art sheds new light on the interpretations. eightychoices. 

*Catch 'em August 11th at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park*

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