Vampire Weekend released Essential album Modern Vampires of the City this week. Its refined optimism in some ways still couldn't be a starker contrast to indie-circuit near-contemporaries Deerhunter's rude "poor boy from a poor family" racket; it's instructive, though, that the Atlanta band's Bradford Cox approvingly compared Vampire Weekend to the B-52s or the Talking Heads in a recent press conference. And seeing Ezra Koenig and the guys last night on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, it's still easy to suspect that although their songs may appear outwardly more straightforward, their deeper meanings may still be just as elusive.
On "Ya Hey" (above), you come for the OutKast reference and cartoon voices, but you stay to puzzle out what's being observed about Yahweh. On web exclusive "Everlasting Arms" (below), the clap-along shuffle and seemingly direct "hold me" refrain belie slightly oblique storytelling about higher truths. The band's performance was poised and practiced, just as on Saturday Night Live last weekend. But they don't belong to any particular league, Ivy or indie.
In fact, along with the saber-rattling Cox, their themes here also suit another Essential-stamped album, from the warmly inviting Paramore, whose sly confusion of God and a lover Koenig would certainly appreciate: On "Proof," Paramore's Hayley Williams sings, "The only proof that I need is you." These guys have proved themselves, too, and happily there's still more to their wide-reaching new record than may come across on first listen.