Bite into a new hit album

Vampire Weekend band members Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio, Christopher Tamson and Ezra Koenig.

The sophomore slump is something that hits everyone from singers and musicians to college students. It’s usually unavoidable and accepted as a fact of life and art: a band’s second album probably won’t be as good as its first. Vampire Weekend, however, avoids that fate with “Contra,” its upbeat second album.

On this album, Vampire Weekend’s sound mirrors the background of the band whose members met as students at Columbia University. It’s a little yuppie and a little preppy, a fascinating mixture of pop, reggae and ska.

Vampire Weekend is a band with a passionate fan base but also vocal detractors. The very things that incited such ire, like their attempts at lyrical eccentricity, are back in full form on “Contra” whose first song, “Horchata,” rhymes “balaclava” with “Masada.” “Giving Up the Gun” is Contra’s most accessible song, and “Cousins” and “Diplomat’s Son” evoke Arctic Monkeys and M.I.A., respectively. On first listen, there aren’t any standout songs like their self-titled debut’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” or “A-Punk,” but “Contra” is also more even overall.

“Contra” is for the fan who wants to be a music snob but lacks the sophistication to do so. It is accessible to the masses, yet not as “out there” as the albums by some of Vampire Weekend’s counterparts in indie rock.

Sarah B. Pilchick may be contacted at



Rating: 3/4 stars

Release Date: Jan. 12

Producer: Rostam Batmanglij

Label: XL Recordings

January 20, 2010


Sarah B. Pilchick

Senior EDGE Writer

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Bite into a new hit album”

  1. Rivers Cuomo says:

    You are correct in saying Contra is more even than the self titled effort, because Contra is almost TOTAL GARBAGE.

    The only legitimately good song is “Giving Up The Gun.”

    “Cousins” is an “A-Punk” clone.

    “I Think Ur A Contra” is downright laughable.

    I think Vampire Weekend forgot how to make somewhat catchy songs with great hooks.

    The songwriting is crap, and these kids wish they were Peter Gabriel.



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