Vampire Weekend – Only God Was Above Us Album

 Ezra Koenig begins Only God Was Above Us speaking, it seems, to just one person. Against a blur of amplifier hum and a tentative guitar strum, he sounds thin and reedy, almost petulant, a little bit doomy. “‘Fuck the world,’” Koenig sings softly, “You said it quiet/No one could hear you/No one but me.”

 This hushed distortion opens Vampire Weekend’s fifth album, where Koenig and his bandmates, Chrises Baio and Tomson, gaze longingly at the past to find more questions than answers. A chief concern is history, and where to fit within it, but, ultimately, Vampire Weekend itself is the focus of Only God Was Above Us. It is the band’s most overtly self-referential release, a collage of signature sounds and motifs dotted with allusions. It feels new and comfortable, regularly elegant and charming, calm and comforting, and, at times, foreboding. And just a bit worried.

 This is to say that Only God Was Above Us is also the most honest album Vampire Weekend have made, an encapsulation of what the band does best, melodic and abstruse in Koenig’s own masterful way. Take the two obvious callbacks on “Connect,” which recreates Tomson’s “Mansard Roof” drum fill and fits in keyboards that call to mind Contra’s runaway hit “Holiday.” The song is a lively reverie about lost days in New York, but slightly askew in its memories and mood. Koenig and co-producer Ariel Rechtshaid capture the strangeness with a track that takes the signature Vampire Weekend sounds and twists them to be a little jazzy, sometimes a little electronic, a beat away from melting down entirely. The result is something like indie deja vu, the sense that we’ve heard this before but can’t at all place it.

  1. Ice Cream Piano
  2. Classical
  3. Capricorn
  4. Connect
  5. Prep-School Gangsters
  6. The Surfer
  7. Gen-X Cops
  8. Mary Boone
  9. Pravda
  10. Hope

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