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Slower-paced 3rd album maintains layered sound

FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2013

From left, Vampire Weekend band members Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio, Ezra Koenig, and Chris Thomson. (Associated Press)
From left, Vampire Weekend band members Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio, Ezra Koenig, and Chris Thomson. (Associated Press)

After releasing two bouncy albums of reggae-flavored pop laced with African rhythms, Vampire Weekend turns down the tempo and ups the indie-rock vibe on its third effort. “Modern Vampires of the City,” which the band characterizes as the culmination of a trilogy, puts singer-songwriters Ezra Koenig and Rostam Batmanglij’s guitars and harmonies front and center.

The New York quartet maintains the layered arrangements it established as its signature on its self-titled 2008 debut and 2010’s “Contra,” with organs and strings in the musical mix. But the vocals are more in focus here, with a choir adding haunting depth to the two closing tracks, “Hudson” and “Young Lion.”

These 12 new songs are more coffeehouse than college party, but that’s not a bad thing. There are enough upbeat entries – including cleverly titled rockabilly single “Diane Young” – to satisfy expectations, and the slower pace allows Vampire Weekend to show what else it can do.

Associated Press



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