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Vampire Weekend: Solely God Was Above Us Album Evaluate




Ezra Koenig begins Solely God Was Above Us talking, it appears, to only one particular person. In opposition to a blur of amplifier hum and a tentative guitar strum, he sounds skinny and reedy, virtually Petulant, a little bit bit doomy. “‘Fuck the world,’” Koenig sings softly, “You stated it quiet/Nobody may hear you/Nobody however me.”

This hushed distortion opens Vampire Weekend’s fifth album, the place Koenig and his bandmates, Chrises Baio and Tomson, gaze longingly on the previous to search out extra questions than solutions. A chief concern is historical past, and the place to suit inside it, however, finally, Vampire Weekend itself is the main focus of Solely God Was Above Us. It’s the band’s most overtly self-referential launch, a collage of signature sounds and motifs dotted with allusions. It feels new and comfy, frequently elegant and charming, calm and comforting, and, at instances, foreboding. And only a bit nervous.

That is to say that Solely God Was Above Us can be probably the most trustworthy album Vampire Weekend have made, an encapsulation of what the band does finest, melodic and abstruse in Koenig’s personal masterful manner. Take the 2 apparent callbacks on “Join,” which recreates Tomson’s “Mansard Roof” drum fill and suits in keyboards that bring to mind Contra’s runaway hit “Vacation.” The music is a energetic reverie about misplaced days in New York, however barely askew in its recollections and temper. Koenig and co-producer Ariel Rechtshaid seize the strangeness with a monitor that takes the signature Vampire Weekend sounds and twists them to be a little bit jazzy, typically a little bit digital, a beat away from melting down completely. The result’s one thing like indie deja vu, the sense that we’ve heard this earlier than however can’t in any respect place it.

Although the band members themselves have lengthy lived in Los Angeles, New York nonetheless looms massive for Vampire Weekend. Koenig, Baio, and Tomson all grew up in or across the metropolis and, with ex-bandmate however present contributor Rostam Batmanglij, famously coalesced at Columbia College. Being away from New York, nevertheless, affords a brand new perspective: From a distance, the town seems as a decaying large, inescapably beholden to its previous and all of the ghosts who’ve handed via. Just by naming New Yorkers of outdated—the late Russian-born journalists Henry and Ludmilla Nikitina Shapiro, their daughter, Irina Shapiro Corten, the famed gallery proprietor Mary Boone, even a defunct tie store—Koenig’s always-vibrant world of name-drops observes the strangeness of residing in huge shadows.