Back again, but with reformed style
Esteemed rock band Vampire Weekend is revered as the pivotal cult-band for shimmering indie-pop melodies and music that makes you smile. But the band has returned from a four-year hiatus with album release Father of the Bride with 18 tracks timing just under an hour long. The album hums with summery vibes and grandeur specks of experimentalism as an ode to their esteemed discography and a rebranding of Vampire Weekend.
Intro track “Hold You Now” twinkles with a gospel-like chorus that shimmers with a frilly guitar while Koenig and featured artist Danielle Haim sing with melodic pleasure. The January release of “Harmony Hall” as an A-side single created increasing anticipation among fans, but its appearance on this album holds a strong presence as a resurrection of Vampire Weekend’s 2008 self-titled album. Beach pop track “This Life” sounds straight out of the 50s with gentle finger-snapping and a hopping beat while the bassline meddles intricately with the orchestration adding depth and forward motion to the album.
Koenig pleases his listeners with the typical Vampire Weekend-esque indie-pop song frame but revels a little deeper with lyrical maturity. The distorted guitar and backdrop vocals in “Big Blue” are hinged on genuine emotion as the instrumentals reflect Koenig’s lyrical blues. The tangent track “How Long?” diversifies itself from Vampire Weekend’s discography while Koenig sings about the mischaracterization of fame: “Getting to the top/ wasn’t supposed to be this hard/ the house is on Mulholland Drive/ the car’s on Sunset Boulevard/ the registration’s here with me/ but neither of us has the key.”
The harmonic violin in “Rich Man” should remind you of “Everlasting Arms” from Modern Vampires of the City with its rhythmic quality and similar musical timbre. But the violin’s musical motif repeats beautifully like a gentle tide rising high and then fading out. The ballad “My Mistake” is sensitive and real, like a live projection of Koenig’s matured emotional state.
The most memorable and dynamically different track on the album is “Sympathy” with its fresh beats and fast-paced guitar. This song is alive with a lyrical rhythm that is unlike any other Vampire Weekend song. The track drops almost silent at 2:15 leaving the swaying bassline and a reverberating bass drum to throw the album into uncharted musical territory. This track is incredibly produced with ahhing background vocals and true synth-rock tunes. “Sympathy” is undoubtedly the most complex and rhythmically interesting track Vampire Weekend has offered fans to this day. Following this trend, the following two tracks feature alternative R&B artist Steve Lacey. With Lacey’s neo-soul style, the album takes a turn towards fresh indie-rock cuts with synth and spoken word on the listen-worthy tracks “Sunflower” and “Flower Moon.” Although fans may have missed their typical Vampire Weekend pop bobs, this album tickles with experimental melodies intertwining with their simple rock past.
Father of the Bride neglects to align with Vampire Weekend’s typical bubbly, carefree attitude. Rather, it is hardened with inventive and ambitious tunes that flicker through genre-styles and play strategically into the future of their band.