Vampire Weekend is back. “Father of the Bride,” its first album in six years, is multi-layered musically and lyrically and washes over the listener like a ray of spring sunshine after a long winter of no new music.
Listen closely to the lyrics, though, and there’s a darker undercurrent amid the breezy harmonizing, hand claps and up-tempo toe-tappers.
“I don’t want to live like this,” lead vocalist Ezra Koenig sings on “Harmony Hall,” the first single from the album, ”but I don’t want to die.”
On “This Life,” Koenig chirpily sings about pain “as natural as the rain,” crumbling dreams, cheating partners and “this life and all its suffering.”
“Oh, Christ, am I good for nothing?” one line goes.
Um, why exactly are we dancing and smiling while listening to this?
A lot has happened since Vampire Weekend’s most recent album “Modern Vampires of the City” was released in 2013. Producer and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij left the band, though he still is credited as a co-producer on several songs.
Other guests include the Internet’s Steve Lacy, Danielle Haim and Jenny Lewis.
Sure, there’s some naval-gazing amid musical styles that range from indie pop to ska and flamenco to jazz, presented over 18 songs that clock in at just under a full hour.
But through all of the excesses, juxtapositions and contradictions, it’s hard not to get caught up in “Father of the Bride” because it’s just so fun.
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