Review: Vampire Weekend, ‘Contra’

Review: Vampire Weekend, ‘Contra’: Aidin Vaziri | How did a group of Ivy League students with an unnatural affinity for Paul Simon’s Afro-pop-influenced 1986 album “Graceland” become the biggest indie act going? Maybe it’s because Vampire Weekend has managed to make banal soft rock sound exotic with surprise melodic twists, singer-songwriter Ezra Koenig’s unapologetically WASPy lyrics and an arsenal of instruments made out of animal toenails. Set to a frantic ska beat that would make even the members of No Doubt feel jittery, the Brooklyn band’s second album surges forward with breezy tunes like “Horchata” and the heavily auto-tuned “California English” before abruptly coming down with the yearning closer, “I Think UR A Contra.” Over swooning strings, Koenig weeps into his pink Ralph Lauren sweater, “Never pick sides/ Never choose between two/ But I just wanted you.”

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