Vampire Weekend - Contra (3 stars)

Vampire Weekend - Contra


Where would these Ivy League afro-pop boffins be without Paul Simon’s Graceland? Half an album short of songs on their second long-player, Contra, that’s where.

If the New York quartet’s much-hyped debut merged African rhythms and art-rock, then Contra is a more schizophrenic affair: their ‘World’ persona is typified by ‘White Sky’ - a titular and musical dead-ringer for Simon’s ‘Under African Skies’.

Their angular alter-ego, however, reveals a few surprises: the swaggering, brassy fanfare of ‘Run’; the maniacal two-tone tub-thump of ‘Cousins’; and the electronic heart-pop of ‘Giving up the Gun’, which pleasingly exchanges Paul Simon for The Postal Service.

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