Album Review: Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City

Don’t think just because Vampire Weekend’s latest album is called Modern Vampires of the City (XL) that their brand of neo-colonialist art-pop has taken a turn entirely toward the morose. Frontman Ezra Koenig’s concerns may be newly self-reflective, but not at the expense of the bouncy indie pop they’ve built an empire producing. “Ya Hey” and “Diane Young” carry the torch for the caffeine-addled exercises of records past, but Modern Vampires’ success is by way of the continued addition of mid-tempo balladry in songs like “Obvious Bicycle” and “Hannah Hunt.” Hyper-specific lyrical references and too-precious instrumental choices serve as callbacks to the all too familiar criticisms leveled at past Vampire Weekend efforts, but Modern Vampires largely steers clear of such potholes, offering instead a collection of buoyant indie rock that could as easily soundtrack Saturday morning’s mimosas as it could Friday night’s existential crises. —CJ