It is amazing the way certain things become associated with each other. For instance, the smell of hot chocolate may remind you of coming inside after sledding on a cold winter day. The soft and springy texture of long green grass might conjure memories of playing a game of tag barefoot in the park. The taste of cherry cough drops may bring back bad memories of a long forgotten bout of the flu. But if you are like me, the songs of New York City band Vampire Weekend evoke images, ideas, and feelings about one specific topic; summer.
After meeting at Columbia University in 2006, Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Tomson, and Chris Baio formed their eclectic and eccentric band, releasing their premier eponym album in 2008. Their work is catchy and surprising, with interesting percussion and brass instruments that fit in and flow seamlessly with the music.
An interesting song of the band, "One (Blake's Got a New Face)" gives a great portrayal of Vampire Weekend's typical sound. Led in by a guitar intro, the smooth percussion is quickly joined by a light techno beat. Ezra's vocals are earnest and descriptive and is joined by the other band members for the call and response chorus. The song is relaxing but is also unexpectedly upbeat.
"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" is a more widely recognized song, but Vampire Weekend's sound can hardly be considered "main stream". With djembes accompanying a catchy guitar riff, the song moves quickly, befitting the clever songwriting and lyrics. All in all, the song is very appropriate for it's namesake ocean front town in New England.
Another excellent song by the band is "Giving Up the Gun". The African-influenced percussion sets the stage for the funky instrumentals and techno elements that are incorporated along with the encouraging lyrics and even a choir at one point. And although this is unrelated to the music itself, the video boasts an epic tennis tournament of celebrities (Jake Gyllenhaall, Lil' John, and *gasp* Joe Jonas."), which just makes this already insanely catchy song even better.
Vampire Weekend's pop punk sound blended with their slightly nerdy, but certainly endearing image makes them well worth a listen. Their light, energetic sound is a quick and effective way to brighten your outlook and get you in a summertime mood. So next time you are stressing over a hard project or worrying about a deadline and need to relax, breathe deeply, calm your mind, and let Vampire Weekend do the rest.