It has been six years since we last received a studio album from Vampire Weekend. With such a long time having passed, we weren’t sure whether the band’s latest record would sound anything like the debut we fell in love with in 2008. With such a long break, Vampire Weekend was in the luxurious position where they could bring out whatever album they wanted. And they didn’t waste the opportunity.
It is immediately apparent that the band have used their break wisely. “Harmony Hall” features a complex guitar riff which Ezra Koenig may not have been able to pull off ten years ago. Being in his early 20s when the debut was released, it’s no surprise that you can hear genuine improvement on the new record.
“This Life”, on the other hand, features that surfer Cape Cod vibe that made us fall for the band in the first place. It’s simple, fun and it’s hard not to crack a smile when listening on a sunny day. The shorter two-minute tracks which sandwich “This Life” are suitable for a laid back movie montage. The band featured on the Paper Towns soundtrack and the precise way the band captures a mood on tracks like “Big Blue” and “Bambina” make us wonder if the band should venture into the indie feature soundtracks. Just a thought.
There are a couple of complacent tracks in the middle of the album but at 18 tracks in length, that is only to be expected. Things pick up nicely with the previously released “Sunflower” featuring The Internet’s Steve Lacy. You can hear the influence of Paul Simon reemerging and the band reclaim that beachy campus vibe we keep banging on about from the debut album.
“We Belong Together” featuring Danielle Haim is almost too preppy and polished. The lyrics are cheesy enough but the track conjures images of shiny white smiles, polo shirts and those awful college campus photos of a group of students beaming on the grass with their textbooks and multi-cultural friends. But it’s Vampire Weekend, so we let them get away with it.
All in all, Father of the Bride is a lot of fun and we’d be lying if we didn’t say it had us cracking a smile or two (or three, or four) even though some of the tracks are cheesier than Simon and Garfunkel at a family BBQ. It’s a humble and cheery comeback album and it’s the perfect pick-me-up as we wait eagerly for summer to kick in.