Vampire Weekend, an indie pop band from New York City, released their third full-length album, Modern Vampires of the City, and seems to give the band more of a fluid sound than their previous releases. The band consists of Ezra Koenig (lead vocals and guitar), Rostam Batmanglij (keyboards and guitar), Chris Tomson (drums and percussion), and Chris Baio (bass). Although there is a new sound on this album, there are still elements in these songs that are reminiscent to Contra and Vampire Weekend, such as Koenig’s bright vocals and their rich melodies. Vampire Weekend seems to experiment more on this album, especially with pitch shifting on various aspects of the instrumentation and Koenig’s vocals.
Throughout Modern Vampires of the City, the lyrics touch upon more mature themes, such as religion, in an imaginative way. It seems as though Koenig questions his faith in God throughout many of the tracks on this record, such as “Unbelievers” and “Ya Hey.” Even with these themes, Koenig keeps his vocals seemingly effortless, much like Vampire Weekend’s previous works. The effects Koenig puts on his voice in this album gives the album an exciting result. The choruses in this album are sweeping and yet catchy which makes them compelling.
Instrumentally, this album is far different from Vampire Weekend and Contra in the sense that Vampire Weekend seems to pull away from their world music influences and tries to create their own style on this new record. There are some beautiful orchestral arrangements throughout the album that are combined with experimental melodies. Staccato percussion in “Worship You” seems to drive this song in a fast tempo and this type of instrumentation has always seemed to play a key role in Vampire Weekend’s sound. The plucking cello and the piano in “Young Lion” bring this mostly energetic album into a quiet and subtle end.
Overall, Modern Vampires of the City seems to be a step away from Vampire Weekend’s typical sound and yet, there is still something about it that remains characteristic to the band. Vampire Weekend seems to strip away the elements they are most known for in this new album as they head into a different direction.