Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Vampire Weekend - Only God Was Above Us

My first listen to the latest Vampire Weekend album Only God Was Above Us, on the Friday it came out was underwhelming to say the least. I know they're a band that produces music that is layered and deserve repeat plays before you make a judgement. But overall I'd say they're a band that has lost something with the departure of key member Rostam Batmanglij in 2016.

There is certainly stuff  on here that's notable and impressive. I always found them an impressive band that could exercise your brain cells and tug on your heartstrings. Cerebral but also emotional in the manner of a great Fitzgerald short story  Ezra Koenig and the other two cannot be discounted.It's a bit of a curate's egg though this one. Some tracks pass by without making an impression while elsewhere things are more interesting and you feel that would warrant and repay further investigation.

So I decided I'd listen to Only God Was Above Us five times before making a judgement. Vampire Weekend are a band that have always dealt with the poignancy of the moment in the passage of the Post Millenial age. Koenig has the writer's eye. He knows his Fitzgerald and his Bellow. I suspect his Cheever, Salinger and his Jay McInerney too.

There is plenty here to divert those who have been prone to the bands well heeled vision previously. I miss Rostam personally. I sispect he's involved here to some degree but I don't think the band are quite what they were in the days of his full engagement, particularly their magisterial and defontive third album Vampires of the City. Ultimately Only God Was Above Us was a little too formulaic for my tastes.

P.S. The more I listen to this, the more I suspect I mght be wrong. It may need fifteen plays..

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