Mosaic / Reviews / February 4, 2015

Average Bear: “Modern Vampires of the City” a delight

gramaphone Icon webAverage Bear is a weekly track-by-track album review. This week, I review the 2013 album “Modern Vampires of the City” by Vampire Weekend.

Vampire Weekend is easily one of the most consistent bands in the scene. From their debut self-titled effort to “Contra”, they have consistently released fantastic music. This latest effort, though not perfect, continues to impress in the way Vampire Weekend is so good at doing.

1. “Obvious Bicycle”

This is a great opener. The song moves slowly and builds up to a nice climax. It’s rare to see a band open an album with a slow-moving ballad, but this really works. The vocals here are spot on in tone and the song as a whole has a great atmosphere to kick off the album.

2. “Unbelievers”

Classic. This track in every way is just wonderful. It’s one of those tracks that has such a great mood that it not only is a joy to listen to, it also leaves you feeling great. From the fast-paced, cheerful tone to lyrical content, you’ll surely be back to give this one a few more listens.

3. “Step”

Another track that most will know at first listen, “Step” has a weird sway to it that just intrigues you enough to keep you in line. The overlapped vocals give a nice depth and the song as a whole moves along smoothly. There is just an intriguing way that this song is sung; there aren’t many songs that can mimic this.

4. “Diane Young”

I went into this song having already heard it about 300 times; it’s just catchy as hell. The quick and snappy vocals here run through your mind quickly but memorably. I have to give props to the drums here, they keep up well and keep the backbeat strong. Another Vampire Weekend classic.

5. “Don’t Lie”

Here, the album begins to lose some steam, but not enough to droop out of proportion. The organ in the background of this track gives a nice spice to the mix, and the attention to detail in every instrument makes each note hit. The pacing is a little off, but I still enjoy the song overall.

6. “Hannah Hunt”

This is where the album starts to sag for me. I can appreciate a slow ballad, but that’s the problem. It wants to be a ballad, but it doesn’t have enough content to be epic. This track would have benefitted from a longer pace, and a bit more excitement. Overall, it feels like a missed hit.

7. “Everlasting Arms”

Unfortunately, this song is dull. To start, the strings at the beginning sound horrid, and they come back multiple times to add nothing at all.  There is nothing here to keep me coming back. Other songs compete with a quirky chorus or well-paced verses, but this track is all over the place and simply a mess.

8. “Finger Back”

There are elements to this track that work well. The pacing is spot on, nice and quick without feeling drawn out. The drums sound perfect, and, well, that’s where it stops. The annoying vocals on this track ruin it for me. The little high notes he sings in the chorus drive me nuts; I just don’t understand why they would go that direction. There was potential, but annoyances are annoyances.

9. “Worship You”

Here, I think they really nailed it on the head. The quick lyrics sound like they have a purpose, and flow in and out of verses to chorus in perfect harmony. The instrumentation is like a celtic dance around the fire, chirping and bright. This track is spot on.

10. “Ya Hey”

Ugh, now to my absolute LEAST favorite on the album. This track is so off-putting.There is this little high-pitched vocal effect throughout that is just awful. If you listen to the song, you know what I mean. I can come to no conclusion as to why they wanted it to sound like this. It’s a shame, because there are good elements of this song, but that little pitch effect is terrible.

11. “Hudson”

I will give no introduction, this song is an absolute masterpiece. There is a creepy tone to this track that drives you mad in a beautiful way. The high chorus of voice is gorgeous, and the marching tempo keeps it together. I find myself coming back to this one over and over to take the trip that this song sends you on. This is an absolute must.

12. “Young Lion”

I adore when bands have a simple, lighthearted closing track finish off a well rounded album. “Young Lion” is just that. It is less than two minutes of remembrance. By that, I mean it really makes you reflect on the album as a whole. It quickly closes with a mellow tune, and leaves you feeling great.

Favorite Song:

“Hudson”

Final Thoughts

There are definitely a few missteps made in the middle of this album, but they by no means can put the album to shame. This album is packed with great songs and some that stand out so much that you will have a hard time forgetting them. Vampire Weekend did a great job here; it is well worth your time.

Rating:

8/10

Mitch Prentice, Mosaic Editor

Tags:  album Average Bear indie music rock vampire weekend

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