I still don't fully understand the venom spewed toward current sensation Vampire Weekend. Is it the meteoric rise, from Ivy League classmates in 2006 to Spin cover boys in 2008? Is it the preppy pastel sweaters and suburban-centric lyrics? Is it the fact that a bunch of white kids are playing African percussion? Is it the fact they sing about silly things like commas, Cape Cod and collegiate grief?
As an unabashed fan of Vampire Weekend's debut EP, the subsequent full release, and every one of its infectiously perky tracks, I'm left at a loss for all the haters. (And there are scores of haters.) But following the band's equally perky and, at least by some, hated sophomore effort, I've at least developed a theory for the backlash.
Vampire Weekend keeps its content at a comfortable distance, unwilling to reveal whatever may really affect the band. Whereas Kings of Leon can be mercilessly—and deservedly—ripped for being a little too emotionally accessible (we get it, they could use somebody) and, thus, deemed cheesy mainstream pop, Vampire Weekend keeps anything resembling real emotion at arm's length. Whereas some find that annoyingly vapid, I embrace the escape. And Contra, starting with a fantastically irreverent opener about an obscure Latin American alcoholic beverage, is definitely another worthwhile escape.
Vampire Weekend plays the Wilma Theatre Tuesday, March 16, at 8 PM. The show is sold out