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Album Review: Father of the Bride – Vampire Weekend

May 10, 2019

On their first album in six years, the prepsters hang up their polo shirts and croquet sticks in favor of refinement and maturity.

From the minute the acoustic picking of Vampire Weekend’s fourth album “Father of the Bride” opener “Hold You Now” hits the listener, it is clear this not the Vampire Weekend listeners have come to know, spinning tales of upper class New York donned in cardigans and cocktail attire; it’s something more mature, refined and polished. While this assumption is easy to make at the first track, frontman Ezra Koenig knows not to give too much away, making this track feel like just the tip of the iceberg in what’s to come.

The album then moves chaotically yet perfectly, from fast tempo rockers (bambina, stranger, this life) to tear evoking ballads (flower moon, 2021). Not very many bands can scrunch six years of bottled up musical inspiration and evolution into 18 songs, but Vampire Weekend accepts the challenge with ease, flaunting elements of Africana, country and recent indie into a cohesive piece of work that shouldn’t but yet somehow all works.

Not only is the band maturing on their own, the collaborators on Father of the Bride lift the band to new heights finding them at their most experimental yet, with the multiple layered vocals and cosmic synth chords of the Steve Lacy featuring “Flowernoon” producing  an almost otherworldly atmosphere, evoking feelings of romanticism and bewilderment in the listener. Danielle Haim also lends her assertive voice to a few songs, giving the album a looser, more sprawling feel.

While old fans might be a little disappointed with the bands change in sound, the beauty of Vampire Weekend’s fourth effort is not so much a return to form, but rather a leap forward.

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