Columbia University graduates, Vampire Weekend are one of a seemingly endless stream of bands to have come from nowhere and gained huge popularity almost overnight, and long before they did anything as mundane as release an album, thanks to the internet. In Vampire Weekend’s case, it was indie music blog, Stereogum that played a crucial role.
For once, the hype surrounding the band was justified by its eponymously-titled debut album which, for me, is one of the best albums of the year so far. And not just me. Uncut’s John Mulvey said in his review: ‘when you’ve heard these songs more than once, it’s hard to shake them out of your head.’
That’s certainly true of tracks like Walcott and I Stand Corrected, both of which are more conventional than other tracks on the album but none the less enjoyable for that. The inclusion of beautiful orchestral strings adds to the rich tapestry, but it’s that wonderful guitar tone that time and again, track after track, adds something special to the album.
Vampire Weekend combines the band’s much-documented blend of Afro beats and pop melodies with smart, intelligent lyrics in which the band occasionally come across as trying a little too hard to be clever.
Oxford Comma, the second track on the album, is a case in point. Lead vocalist and guitar player, Ezra Koenig, explained the song in an interview: “Part of the idea of Oxford Comma is the idea of grammar as this obviously construct that a categorical imperative because it’s so specific to the English language. It’s kind of linguistic imperialism.” See what I mean?
We can forgive Ezra his verbosity, however, because as well as fronting a band which has produced a great album, he plays an Epiphone, a Sheraton II to be precise, as you can see from the pictures.
Vampire Weekend have been busy touring over the summer and at the end of June played two terrific sets at the Glastonbury festival.
Click on the video below to see and hear Vampire Weekend play Oxford Comma at Glastonbury.