Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vampire Weekend - Tastes Good, Less Filling

Back in the early 1980s, a band called Haircut One Hundred was quite the rage for a while. Their first album came out when I was a senior at Berkeley, and I remember my friend Colin referring to them as “perfect pop.” Having a preference for more “meaty” endeavors (Clash, Costello, Springsteen, Zevon), I gave him a hard time about it at the time, and have continued to do so over the years. We don’t see each other often, but we do correspond via e-mail on a regular basis, and every chance I get I try to work in a little dig about Haircut One Hundred.

Well, now I think I owe Colin an apology, because Haircut One Hundred has been reincarnated, as Vampire Weekend, and I can’t seem to get the tunes on their eponymously titled album out of my head.

Whether that’s entirely a good thing is a question I’m not yet able to answer. Although the album is relentlessly catchy – also evoking bands like The English Beat and Aztec Camera – and the lyrics are clever, sounding suspiciously like something a smart college kid might write, the album is also light as air. Like the meringue on a lemon pie, the music on Vampire Weekend tastes good, but you’re not sure if there’s any substance there. Right now “Oxford Comma,” “A-Punk,” “Bryn” and “Walcott” all sound like – dare I say it? – “perfect pop.” But will they stand the test of time? Will what sounds great today become merely annoying a year from now?

Only time will tell. For now, go on out and buy the album – if nothing else, you’ll have something fun to dance to for years to come.

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