February 21, 2008

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Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
XL Recordings, Jan. 29
There’s a segment of the accounting-undergrad listening class that can’t get enough Death Cabs and Belles & Sebastians, and, with tax time nearing, we owe it to these people to acknowledge the fact that they have ears.

The tuneage of Nantucket preppy-imposters Vampire Weekend is sparse, separated by space even when their advanced playing abilities are being fully utilized. This quietude creates an early Police palette upon which the band studiously brushes a few Afro-pop tones, subatomic flutes (“A-Punk”), a fake Kansas string run (“M79”), and some reggaeton (“One”). For starters, that is. “Mansford Roof” was the drum-n-bass piece I’d alluded to in a previous Playlist, and on second listen it’s still that, busted up and sounding like a wheel’s coming off the bus somewhere, but such is the nature of their debatably adventurous, advanced rhythm methods — they know stuff about music, you see. One ringtone of the future, for sure, is the froggy-hopping kiddie guitar loop from “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.”

Either way, there’s no escaping this. Whatever Vampire Weekend becomes — lei-draped fave of island tourists, twee-punk-genius royalty or the next Police — you or someone you’re stuck with will be assimilated. A- — E. W. S.