Album Review: Contra

It’s difficult to overlook Contra – the new, sophomore album from Vampire Weekend. After all, they have tirelessly promoted this release from exclusive shows to morning tv only a month or two ago. They’ve been working hard but is it anything to get excited about? Answer: yes

Photo: Napoleon Habeica

Contra is like the technicolour version of their self-titled debut with ideas flying thick and fast. Vampire Weekend step into new ground with a highly-influenced sound from an array of sources, most notably a ska-punk energy that induces Contra’s swift pace. Despite the euphoric opener “Horchata”, “White Sun” tiptoes its way as a prominent track – it’s nimble and fun. “Run” leisurely meets you at the halfway mark of Contra and it’s not about to decelerate.

I’ll be frank with you; there is a lot happening in Contra. The quartet has it all under control from start to finish and this is where I’m surprised. At times, the multitude of sounds is overwhelming but somehow it is all skilfully controlled. This is the Vampire Weekend I imagined from the very beginning: sharp, sophisticated and intelligent tropical pop.

Contra is out now through Remote Control.

You can catch a recording of a Vampire Weekend set from their recent Australian visit on Triple J’s Live at the Wireless on Monday 18th Jan at 8pm AEST (you can stream it here).


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