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Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride

May 13, 2019

It has been six years since Vampire Weekend last released an album – a millennium in pop years. I wasn’t sure what to expect given the lapse of time and the loss of sonic architect Rostam Batmanglij. I did not listen to the teaser singles. If I had, I would not have been concerned. Lead single “Harmony Hall” is an outstanding pop song and represents everything that is great about Vampire Weekend.

The new album is terrific: poppy, quirky and as ambitious as ever. It is not out of character with its three predecessors.  All of which have Paul Simon Graceland influences.  Like those three albums, Graceland is merely an influence on Father of the Bride and not a tribute – this is a highly original band. Vampire Weekend is fearless about its arrangements and edits.

First, a word of warning: listen to this album through a good rig. I listened to this album a few times on a factory car stereo and on average headphones/iPhone and it was fine. But when I listened via my big boy stereo, the album blossomed.

I hear so many many musical flavors:

  • Jerry Garcia’s marimba like guitar
  • Stevie Wonder’s funky yet quirky arrangements
  • Brian Wilson & Beach Boys elaborate yet accessible orchestrations
  • Prince’s divinely weird funk
  • Kanye’s, My Dark Twisted Fantasy era insanity
  • George Harrison sophisticated pop
  • The jangly and lighter side of Van Morrison
  • And of course Paul Simon’s afro-pop fusion

All these influence are blended together resulting in a totally fresh take on the Vampire Weekend sound. This may be their quirkiest and best record.

As usual, there are lots of guitars used in unconventional ways. Ezra Koenig duets with Hiam’s Danielle Hiam on a few cuts and the result is a twisted take on classic country boy/girl duets. All and all, Father of the Bride is an excellent addition to the Vampire Weekend canon.

Coda: I have been listening via Tidal HiFi and I picked up the vinyl edition and it sounds great! Nice clean pressing and master.

From → Music Reviews

  1. This one seems really strong so far. Really like having Danielle Haim on it.

    • I was genuinely surprised. I had written them off given gap of time and loss of key player. The more I listen the more I like.

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