Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
Father of the Bride
Vampire Weekend was always a band that felt far away. Their ideas, their privilege and distinctly East Coast elite status felt miles and miles away from anything real. Their music came to prominence at a time that thrust the gentle and relaxed version of guitar music in front of the rock and roll that had held it entrapped for years. It was a welcome break for many, but for others it felt like a sound that was unconnected. The whispers of them being the second coming of Paul Simon are apt, especially with this new more wide open record Father of the Bride. Lead single "Harmony Hall" has all the hallmarks of a Paul Simon record, plenty of pop, but with a gentle relaxed spirit, written with flowery language than doesn't always make sense. It's only fitting their return is a double album after the long time away that is as bouncy as it is light. It feels like the verge of summer throughout this album and it's without the doom and gloom that have been central in popular music for awhile now. Vampire Weekend as an entity are easy to hate, but what's far less easy is to hate their music. Songs like "This Life" have so much positive energy flowing through them that you can't help but by in. The deep clean bassline serves as a jumping off point for so much goodness even though the song seems to be told from the perspective who have had essentially everything handed to them, or have gotten away with the life they currently lead. It's this push and pull between goodness and badness that gives the band their edge, because otherwise they would just be far to milk toast to stand.
The production this time around is absolutely stellar. Clearly the years in the studio have payed off because everything here sounds so incredibly clean yet also diverse. Vampire Weekend have often been accused of lifting from many genres in their music, but here it feels much more like they have settled into their own sound. The whole album flows with this really wonderful progression where songs have clear delineation points, but it also allows for some bleed through of both theme and vibe. Danielle Haim features the most on this record appearing on three tracks. Adding Danielle is an interesting choice since she doesn't have the most classically female vocal. The lower register allows her to sync up with Koeing in an unexpected and exciting way. The lyrics of "Married in a Gold Rush" are a little infantile, but the sonicaly it works. I was ready to go all in on hating this record, like I have with much of Vampire Weekend's music, but when it's actually good you have to give it up. Father of the Bride is a wonderful addition to their discography and such a welcome break for the bleak things coming from pop music today. Let's hope this signals a coming shift for music as a whole.
8.2 out of 10