Vampire Weekend 

Modern Vampires of the City

I'm making a list of what Vampire Weekend sounds like: the Police if Sting could read, Sandinista! if the Clash were from the Hamptons, reverse-chronology Paul Simon. That last one is more about me: I hated Vampire Weekend at first, just as I initially liked Paul Simon, and now I am sorry to report that Graceland is cheesy and I like Modern Vampires of the City.

They still sound mannered and twee, but now they sound mannered and twee over a bassy pop rhythm section. That has made all the difference. The frantic midrange plunking of Contra and their self-titled debut made Vampire Weekend stand in relation to world music as Wheat Thins are to Fritos: equally bad plus kind of pretentious. With more low end and fewer toms, however, Ezra Koenig's tenor pops and, suddenly, Modern Vampires of the City is like Chili Cheese Fritos: still guilt-inducing, but undeniably pleasurable.

It is not an unadulterated joy. MVotC contains some genuinely bad tracks, and your friends will still mock you for listening to it. That's a small price to pay for a pop album that walks the narrow line between self-conscious and brainless, though. I will miss hating Vampire Weekend, but "Ya Hey" is worth it.

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