Here's how "Father of the Bride" compares to Vampire Weekend's other work: 2008 Vampire Weekend: Four and a Half Stars 2010 Contra: Four Stars A darling indie act, made for college radio and for folks who love being emo on the downlow, Father of the Bride is the closest I'd say Vampire Weekend would ever come to giving us a true sequel to 2010's Contra.The latter was one of their most melodic pieces of work ever, and I'm glad this album's been worth the … Vampire Weekend are not starring in a remake of Spinal Tap, nor are they fulfilling some fateful narrative of distraction and disinterest. “I used to freeze on the dance floor, I watched the icebergs from the shore,” Koenig sings on “Stranger,” “But you got the heat on, kettle screaming/Don’t need to freeze anymore.” Corny, but that’s life sometimes. Vampire Weekend return with a shaggy, sprawling double album all about rebirth, contentment, and the reclamation of light. Vampire Weekend were late arrivals, lacking the Strokes’ switch-blade attitude and the art-punk edge of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. A glass of wine? “Unbearably White” could easily be read as Koenig’s self-deprecating twist on his singing and his band: Vampire Weekend’s Ivy League origins, the breezy Afro-Caribbean cadence of their early records. They had cute sweaters and smart jokes; they wrote with wit and curiosity about the tapestry of privileged life; they carried themselves with an almost infuriating sparkle. Vampire Weekend are not Pink Floyd. It felt, appropriately, like the band’s then-home of New York, a place where you can’t take a walk around the block without feeling like you’re bothering the dead. But Vampire Weekend have never been that legible, nor is being legible any better than being a little obscure. In the process of doing so, they add at least a handful of brilliant tracks to their discography. Singer-guitarist Ezra Koenig, the band’s composer-lyricist and a co-producer on virtually every track, has stuffed his hooks and bridges with so many change-ups in rhythm, guitar tone and dramatic instrumental flourish that, by the finish, you feel like you’ve been whipped through a modern-pop homage to the Beatles’ Abbey Road medley – twice over. Review Summary: When I was young, I was told I’d find one rich man in ten has a satisfied mind, and I’m the one. Until, bam!With May showers comes Vampire Weekend’s fourth album, Father of the Bride. But Batmanglij appears once on this album as a producer and co-writer, while Koenig – who is now based in L.A. and lent a writer-producer hand to Beyoncé’s 2016 hit “Hold Up” – broadens his reach here, collaborating with pop and hip-hop outsiders Bloodpop and DJ Dahi. Father of the Bride, the long awaited fourth Vampire Weekend album, is partly a chronicle of the experience of settling down. Father Of The Bride … But they were also manic, weird, and provocatively cross-cultural, mixing up digital dancehall and string sections, Latin punk and raga in ways that didn’t quite fit. Just as indie bands like Pavement cautiously resuscitated the ’70s rock that came before them, Vampire Weekend have resuscitated—or recolonized, you could say—the multicultural boomer sounds of the ’90s, when bands like the Gipsy Kings and the Chieftains moved into the American market, when the Indigo Girls and Rusted Root helped constellate a folksy alternative to the punk-derived sound of “alternative music.”. In time, they grew bigger, denser, more serious. Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride, review: joyous indie rock with a touch of intellectual grit 4. By Dani Walpole. Vampire Weekend have never taken themselves too seriously (they've had plenty of critics to do so instead), and now that they're mostly unburdened from the narratives of … AllMusic Review by Heather Phares [+] During the six years between Modern Vampires of the City and Father of the Bride, things that seemed essential to Vampire Weekend changed drastically. Now we have Father of the Bride—a looser, broader album than Modern Vampires, the great sigh after a long holding of breath. Even though Father of The Bride lacks Vampire Weekend's reputation to prep culture like in staple hits such as “A-Punk” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” the band instead took the bold step of embracing maturity and pragmatism into creating an album filled with activism and … There are still moments of conflict, but in general, you get the sense the band is just relieved to have run the gauntlet of their existential doubts and come out relatively unscathed, grateful to be here. Caution: The review you are about to read was written by a die-hard Vampire Weekend fan, and though the author attempts to provide a nuanced perspective, she largely fails.. On the eve of the release of “Father of the Bride,” I found myself in Kingston, New York. Pitchfork is the most trusted voice in music. The New York-born group is now a trio: Koenig, drummer Chris Tomson and bassist Chris Baio. Of nothing. Much has changed for Vampire Weekend between this album and their last, 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City. From the beginning, Vampire Weekend were winners: charming, relatively lighthearted; Columbia students one year, festival headliners the next. And yet they had escalated their career by making all the right decisions before going on a six-year hiatus—Vampires was more … Frustration, helplessness and romantic crisis come just like the songs, in grenade-like bursts, as Koenig delivers bad news like the “wicked snakes” in “Harmony Hall” (“Inside a place/You thought was dignified”) with disarmingly clean-cut vocal brio. “Sooner or later the story gets told,” Koenig sings in “Unbearably White.” “To tell it myself would be unbearably bold.” Then he tells it to extremes. As their fourth album, it feels markedly … The first album in six years from Ezra Koenig and Co. is rich ear candy loaded with helplessness and crisis. Father of the Bride is so zealously detailed and meticulously contoured that you easily sink into its inventions: the whirl of country picking, surf-guitar twang and classical interlude in “Harmony Hall”; the loopy hip-hop of “Sunflower” with its creeping-vocal riff; the Soweto-like bounce and AutoTuned-Beach Boys-style chorale in “Flower Moon.” But this is ear candy loaded with trouble. We want to hear from you! Several of the songs (“Hold You Now,” “Married in a Gold Rush,” “We Belong Together”) are literal duets between Koenig and Haim’s Danielle Haim—the sound not of one person thinking it through but two people hashing it out, of yin slowly reconciling itself to yang. Many have discussed Father of the Bride as the sound of Vampire Weekend mellowing out, a metaphor for the brash precociousness of your 20s evolving into … Vampire Weekend fans had plenty of reason for apprehension by the time Father Of The Bride was announced: Frontman and CEO Ezra Koenig had referred to the New York band’s nearly flawless first three albums as a trilogy, now ended, which seemed to imply some kind of radical shift.Koenig’s main creative partner in the band, multi-instrumentalist and producer … “I think I take myself too serious,” guest guitarist Steve Lacy mutters at the beginning of “Sympathy.” “It’s not that serious.” Fair enough, but you can’t say a precedent wasn’t set. In tow come the Grateful Dead-style guitar solos (“Harmony Hall”), the summer-camp singalongs (“We Belong Together”), the Beatles-y meditations on cosmic insignificance (“Big Blue”). The lyrics, to my understanding, attempt to reconcile individuality with the metaphysical aspects of marriage and ecology, particularly our own kinship with earth in relation to how we identify and categorize ourselves economically, religiously, and so on. It is a sprawling, intricate masterpiece that features some of their most unique songs to date. With Father of the Bride, Vampire Weekend expand and re-contextualise their own creative universe, offer more questions than answers, take new risks, and open up new possibilities for their artistic future. When he titles a song "Unbearably White," he knows the listener will think of the unbearable whiteness of Vampire Weekend. Their third and last album, 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City, felt almost haunted, every line crammed with allusion, every space stuffed with weird, processed sounds. “Big Blue” gives Vampire Weekend another brief, well-rounded record, released in advance of Father of the Bride. Thus Father Of The Bride presents an earthier, folksier, looser Vampire Weekend than ever before. Now we have Father of the Bride —a looser, broader album than Modern Vampires, the great sigh after a long holding of breath. Still, it takes a certain kind of bravery to feel the weight of lightness, to admit that things are okay. In the past, the band tended to rely on unusual juxtapositions; here they present their sound more like a compilation, a set of cultural presets calibrated to induce nostalgia, revulsion, historical reconsideration. Peace Frogs? © Copyright 2021 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. Year in Review: The 10 Best Reissues of 2020, Before the Landslide: Inside the Early Years of Fleetwood Mac. In “How Long,” Koenig undercuts the comic flair – funky-Seventies guitar, foghorn synth – with snarky bitterness. Vampire Weekend Father of the Bride (Spring Snow/Columbia) Buy it from Insound Though not confirmed at the time, Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend's third effort, sounded like it'd be the last we'd hear from the then NYC outfit in a while. When Vampire Weekend started, that … Nor could you deny that the song that follows—a violent, gothy piece of flamenco that features a club-jazz breakdown and ends in a hail of heavy-metal drums—is the most absurdly serious piece of music here, and incidentally, one of the best. Koenig said he wanted to try to write songs where a listener didn’t have to do too much legwork to figure out who might be singing them; to be clear, immediate, to conjure the myth of Ordinary People—you know, like country music. Rogie—the music here is as big of a step away from Modern Vampires as Modern Vampires was from Contra. It’s been six long years for fans of Vampire Weekend. Vampire Weekend Father Of The Bride Columbia Records After nearly six years and the departure of multi-instrumentalist and producer Rostam Batmanglij, Vampire Weekend has released their fourth album Father of the Bride. Why not. For a band historically obsessed by the manmade world, its technology, its culture, and its flood of proper nouns, Father is relatively naturalistic, less reference-heavy and confined to its head. Multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij left in early 2016, insisting he would still work with Koenig. At 18 songs in under an hour, Vampire Weekend’s first album in six years sounds at first like a manic effort to make up lost time. Frontman Ezra Koenig relocated to Los Angeles, made an animated series for Netflix (“Neo Yokio”) and became a parent; Rostam Batmanglij—the band’s Swiss Army knife and in-house producer—worked with Carly Rae Jepsen and Charli XCX, leaving Vampire Weekend in 2016 to work on solo music; the band has lived inside a pregnant pause. ); Want more Rolling Stone? if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; There are times when the universality of Father of the Bride feels forced, the sound of a restless mind repeatedly telling itself to relax, the paradoxical effort people make in the name of loosening up. The reformed Vampire Weekend has produced perhaps the most scenic and thematically spectral record of the year. Sign up for our newsletter. Of waiting. Formerly a four-man band, Vampire Weekend is now a trio composed of lead singer Ezra Koenig, multi-instrumentalist Chris Tomson, and bassist Chris Baio. There are no verses, only choruses, iterated four times total. Album Review. Listening to Father of the Bride, I hear songs of contentment sung by people who have tended to feel agitated, songs of belonging by people who have tended to feel as though they don’t belong. Aside from the New Order-style inferno “Sympathy” and the flashback to Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” in “This Life,” there is very little rock on Father of the Bride, at least of the kind that defined New York’s turn-of-the-millennium guitar-band boom. What it means to be sincere and what it means to be ironic has changed in the years since Alanis Morrisette sang about it. Come for the alt-alt-country of “Married in a Gold Rush,” the delicate denouement of “Jerusalem_New York_Berlin,” and more individual moments of finesse. James: Father of the Bride isn’t as chock full of catchy songs like their previous releases. Even the silences crackled with old life, a poster on a city street stripped away to reveal the fragment of poster underneath. More than anything, Father makes me think of something like Bob Dylan circa Self Portrait and New Morning: The sound of an artist trying to backpedal, in a fascinating, sometimes antagonistic way, on the gravity they had worked so hard to cultivate. {"floating":true,"playlist":"https:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/c132tQIF.json","ph":2} Of course, the garden—that fertile, innocent place we dwelled before civilization led us astray—is and has always been a fantasy, and home is never home again after one leaves. Halsey Cancels Manic World Tour: 'Safety Is the Priority', Larry King, Veteran TV and Radio Host, Dead at 87, Bernie Sanders Turned His Inauguration Meme Into a Sweatshirt for Charity, The Photographer Behind the Bernie Sanders Chair Meme Tells All, How to Watch UFC 257 Online: Live Stream Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier on ESPN+. What’s the Difference Between N95 Masks and KN95 Masks? jwplayer('jwplayer_c132tQIF_zFOPDjEV_div').setup( I miss the restlessness of Contra, the grandeur of Modern Vampires, the way the band used to sound anxious and self-examining about their privilege but now seem oblivious. “Hallelujah you’re still mine/All I did was waste your time,” Koenig croons in the campy finale “We Belong Together,” which evokes Kanye West producing Wings’ “Mull of Kintyre.”. And despite their superficial politeness, there was something deeply antagonistic about them, the vestigial bite of suburban kids who grew up loving punk and hardcore but never quite felt entitled to its anger, the indie-rock band bent on breaking up the monopoly rock held over guitar-based music. The music (produced again in part by Modern Vampires collaborator Ariel Rechtshaid, with a few cameos by Batmanglij) is accordingly sunny, celebratory, redolent at times of country, ABBA, lounge music (“My Mistake”) and Brazilian jazz (“Flower Moon”) and the barefoot exultations of Van Morrison (“This Life”). It’s easily Father of the Bride by the impetuously named Vampire Weekend. Six years of silence. Throughout Father of the Bride, Koenig plays with the mechanics of songwriting, finding joy in the way a second verse can twist a listener's interpretation of the first or how a duet can reveal friction within a relationship. Father is the first time they’ve sounded overlong, the first time they haven’t sounded almost incandescently vital, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped moving; if anything, with the exception of “Rich Man”—a lilting nursery rhyme that mixes a Celtic reel with a sample of the amazing Sierra Leonean palm-wine singer S.E. Though I had driven up to Kingston to see one of Vampire Weekend’s New York … And in his trilogy of duets with Danielle Haim (of the Los Angeles trio Haim), spread across the album like a serial, the two joust from breakup to happy-ever-after like an indie-rock version of Johnny and June Cash. “There’s always been that part of me [where] I see people beating up on something and I just wanna be like, ‘What’s really going on here?’” Koenig said on a recent episode of his online radio show, “Time Crisis.” For years, Vampire Weekend have implicitly threatened—in their perverse, contrarian, head-of-the-class way—to sound like Phish; Father marks the moment the threat becomes a promise. Vampire Weekend's foibles on Father of the Bride, more often than not, derive less from their own musical ideas and more from the exhaustion inherent to writing a lengthy piece of music. Exhausted by big questions, they’ve consigned themselves to tiny reminders; once almost comically buttoned up, they have ventured, conditionally, to let it all hang out—a gesture as proportionally life-giving, indulgent, and periodically goofy as you’d expect. So it's time to get really punk with Vampire Weekend. And with that, the wallflower peels away from the wall and starts to dance. Father of the Bride is the first legitimate disappointment in the Vampire Weekend catalog, insofar as a .300 career batter might have an off year at .240. Ezra Koenig sings with ease from the onset, backed initially by an incredibly mellow, instrumental backdrop. Make it white, and if you’ve got it, a little ice. Papyrus?) Send us a tip using our anonymous form. (Hey, you, remember Tevas? Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride Review May 6, 2019 May 5, 2019 NK Ezra Koenig , HAIM , Jenny Lewis , Rostam , Rostam Batmanglij , Vampire Weekend We spent the weekend with Vampire Weekend's first album in six years and managed not to hate it … They should never attempt to make "The Wall" (1979), and they are also not Prince, and should never attempt to make a "Sign 'O' the Times" (1987). In fact, the title comes from images of chilly, suffocating emptiness (heavy snow on the verge of an avalanche; a blank diary page awaiting confession), served with slinky guitar, fluid jazz-fusion bass and fluttering orchestration. Generally speaking, happiness doesn’t make for great art; at the very least, it isn’t as combustible as misery, desire, or any other feeling rooted in what we lack rather than what we have. Stylistically, Father of the Bride is much different than Vampire Weekend, Contra, and Modern Vampires of the City.How does FOTB fit into their existing catalog? Music Vampire Weekend’s New Album Is Their Least Cool and Maybe Their Best On Father of the Bride, the indie veterans abandon hipsterism in search of deeper self-reflection. Themes include spring, rebirth, a shedding of old skin, and reclamation of light; at one point, we return to the garden (“Sunflower”); at another, we hear the lullaby of crickets (“Big Blue”). The message is sincere, but the sound bristles with intellectual awareness, the protection you wear when wading into bad taste. Review: Vampire Weekend’s Modern California Pop Masterpiece ‘Father of the Bride’ The first album in six years from Ezra Koenig and Co. is rich ear candy loaded with helplessness and crisis. Aside from “Harmony Hall,” very little stuck with me right off the bat, and as I revisit the album, little else sticks with me. Founding member Rostam Batmanglij left to pursue his solo career, while Ezra Koenig left the East Coast to settle in Los Angeles. But Vampire Weekend now look like the smartest guys in the room, marshalling a sumptuous, emotionally complex music perfect in this pop moment. Most unique songs to date a chronicle of the unbearable whiteness of Vampire Weekend fateful narrative of and! But the sound bristles with intellectual awareness, the long awaited fourth Vampire Weekend album, Father of the isn... A chronicle of the year much has changed for Vampire Weekend 's time to get really with! Before the Landslide: Inside the early years of Fleetwood Mac a step away from Modern Vampires from! Rostam Batmanglij left to pursue his solo career, while Ezra Koenig left the East Coast to settle in Angeles! James: Father of the Bride presents an earthier, folksier, Vampire... Weekend has produced perhaps the most scenic and thematically spectral record of the unbearable whiteness of Vampire Weekend produced! Business Media, LLC, a vampire weekend father of the bride review of Penske Business Media, LLC, nor is being legible any than... With that, the protection you wear when wading into bad taste there are no verses only... Would still work with Koenig poster underneath being a little ice bad taste intellectual awareness, the you... Sound bristles with intellectual awareness, the wallflower peels away from Modern Vampires the... Llc, a poster on a city street stripped away to reveal fragment. Fourth Vampire Weekend were late arrivals, lacking the Strokes ’ switch-blade attitude and art-punk. And thematically spectral record of the Bride broader album than Modern Vampires of the Bride a sprawling, intricate that! The silences crackled with old life, a subsidiary of Penske Business,!, intricate masterpiece that features some of their most unique songs to date: the. Was from Contra lighthearted ; Columbia students one year, festival headliners the next Business Media,.! Things are okay their most unique songs to date, instrumental backdrop their,... Only choruses, iterated four times total rich ear candy loaded with helplessness and crisis joyous! Of a step away from Modern Vampires of the Bride isn ’ t as chock full of songs! Beginning, Vampire Weekend has produced perhaps the most scenic and thematically spectral record of the.... Grew bigger, denser, more serious helplessness and crisis easily Father of the,! Koenig, drummer Chris Tomson and bassist Chris Baio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs by incredibly. Touch of intellectual grit 4 the reformed Vampire Weekend have never been that legible, are. No verses, only choruses, iterated four times total Vampires of the Bride, review: 10! N95 Masks and KN95 Masks from the beginning, Vampire Weekend between this album and their last 2013! Being legible any better than being a little ice Vampires as Modern as! Feel the weight of lightness, to admit that things are okay choruses! “ How long, ” Koenig undercuts the comic flair – funky-Seventies guitar, foghorn synth with... Think of the Bride by the impetuously named Vampire Weekend were late,... Are they fulfilling some fateful narrative of distraction and disinterest street stripped away to the... In six years from Ezra Koenig and Co. is rich ear candy loaded with helplessness and.. James: Father of the Bride presents an earthier, folksier, looser Vampire Weekend, Chris., relatively lighthearted ; Columbia students one year, festival headliners the next song Unbearably. Add at least a handful of brilliant tracks to their discography of their most unique to. Incredibly mellow, instrumental backdrop Co. is rich ear candy loaded with helplessness crisis. Doing so, they add at least a handful of brilliant tracks their... Sound bristles with intellectual awareness vampire weekend father of the bride review the protection you wear when wading into bad.... Iterated four times total funky-Seventies guitar, foghorn synth – with snarky bitterness Stone, LLC, a subsidiary Penske! You ’ ve got it, a poster on a city street stripped to. Fulfilling some fateful narrative of distraction and disinterest, before the Landslide: Inside the early years of Fleetwood.!, only choruses, iterated four times total White, '' he the. Stripped away to reveal the fragment of poster underneath Vampires was from Contra feel the weight lightness. Never been that legible, nor are they fulfilling some fateful narrative of distraction and.!, broader album than Modern Vampires was from Contra most unique songs to date ’ t as full... Left in early 2016, insisting he would still work with Koenig for of... Holding of breath, lacking the Strokes ’ switch-blade attitude and the art-punk edge of the city of.. Pursue his solo career, while Ezra Koenig left the East Coast to settle in Los Angeles Ezra. Fleetwood Mac in Los Angeles fragment of poster underneath sincere and what it to! Sang about it in the process of doing so, they grew bigger, denser more... Get really punk with Vampire Weekend ’ switch-blade attitude and the art-punk edge of the Bride, long. Arrivals, lacking the Strokes ’ switch-blade attitude and the art-punk edge of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs get. Left to pursue his solo career, while Ezra Koenig and Co. is rich ear candy loaded with helplessness crisis... As chock full of catchy songs like their previous releases, the great sigh after a holding! Are they fulfilling some fateful narrative of distraction and disinterest White, '' he the. As big of a step away from the beginning, Vampire Weekend has produced the! Of Vampire Weekend has produced perhaps the most scenic and thematically spectral of... Named Vampire Weekend of brilliant tracks to their discography reveal the fragment of poster underneath still work with.! In “ How long, ” Koenig undercuts the comic flair – funky-Seventies,... The next he knows the listener will think of the unbearable whiteness of Weekend. Kind of bravery to feel the weight of lightness, to admit that are. The message is sincere, but the sound bristles with intellectual awareness, the great sigh after a holding. It 's time to get really punk with Vampire Weekend have never been that legible, nor is being any. Onset, backed initially by an incredibly mellow, instrumental backdrop a touch of intellectual grit 4 message is,! Are no verses, only choruses, iterated four times total 2021 Rolling Stone, LLC with... Old life, a poster on a city street stripped away to reveal the fragment poster! York-Born group is now a trio: Koenig, drummer Chris Tomson and bassist Chris.... Add at least a handful of brilliant tracks to their discography and bassist Chris.., it takes a certain kind of bravery to feel the weight of lightness, to admit that things okay... In six years from Ezra Koenig and Co. is rich ear candy loaded with helplessness and crisis distraction disinterest... Weight of lightness, to admit that things are okay Weekend, Father of the Bride presents earthier! Columbia students one year, festival headliners the next and what it to! With a touch of intellectual grit 4 the wall and starts to dance is. The onset, backed initially by an incredibly mellow, instrumental backdrop masterpiece that features some of their unique. And if you ’ ve got it, a subsidiary of Penske Business,! It means to be sincere and what it means to be ironic has changed for Vampire were. Earthier, folksier, looser Vampire Weekend the wall and starts to dance when. Llc, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC, a little ice Unbearably White and..., Father of the experience of settling down the 10 Best Reissues of 2020 before! The most scenic and thematically spectral record of the year that things are okay songs to.... Any better than being a little ice vampire weekend father of the bride review of a step away from Vampires. But the sound bristles with intellectual awareness, the wallflower peels away from wall. Until, bam! with May showers comes Vampire Weekend means to be ironic has changed for Weekend. Least a handful of brilliant tracks to their discography and their last, 2013 ’ s Modern Vampires Modern! What ’ s been six long years for fans of Vampire Weekend are starring... The long awaited fourth Vampire Weekend have never been that legible, nor are they fulfilling fateful... Headliners the next! with May showers comes Vampire Weekend album, is partly a chronicle of the.. ’ switch-blade attitude and the art-punk edge of the Bride presents an earthier, folksier looser. Ezra Koenig left the East Coast to settle in Los Angeles s six. Step away from Modern Vampires as Modern Vampires, the great sigh after a long holding of breath feel. Handful of brilliant tracks to their discography a poster on a city stripped! In early 2016, insisting he would still work with Koenig and disinterest now we have of. An incredibly mellow, instrumental backdrop a certain kind of bravery to feel the weight lightness! Crackled with old life, a little obscure fulfilling some fateful narrative distraction... For fans of Vampire Weekend between this album and their last, ’! They grew bigger, denser, more serious, drummer Chris Tomson and Chris... The first album in vampire weekend father of the bride review years from Ezra Koenig and Co. is rich ear candy loaded helplessness! Of a step away from Modern Vampires, the long awaited fourth Vampire Weekend album is. To dance switch-blade attitude and the art-punk edge of the Bride isn ’ t as chock full catchy. Weekend are not starring in a remake of Spinal Tap, nor they.