Rantings, reviews and lists from a person who structures half his life around obsessing over music.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Vampire Weekend - "Cousins"

Vampire Weekend clearly don't care about the indie-community backlash that's been steadily growing against them because, if they did, they would've never chosen "Horchata" to open their new album. "Horchata" seems to streamline every single element of their sound that the typical anti-VW personality hates into one piece of music: cutesiness for the simple sake of being cute, a hook that could fit comfortably into Kids Bop, and an element of upper-class sterility that occasionally seems to be trying a tiny bit too hard to sound "worldly".

The true lead single from Vampire Weekend's upcoming Contra, however, is the complete opposite.

"Cousins" is "A-Punk" if the song had any replay value whatsoever. The overplayed single from 2 springs ago was frantic, but that's more or less all it was. The brilliant thing about "Cousins" though, is that it doesn't just settle for being excited; it aims for batshit insanity. No one would dare accuse "Cousins" of being shallow because it doesn't give you enough time to even think about the song in those terms. As if the simplistic, jagged guitar riff opening the song didn't sound spastic enough already, the constant rapid-fire drum fills, snake-like bass and Ezra Koenig frantically switching between monkey noises and quick-paced, clearly enunciated, yet completely meaningless rhymes ("Dad was a risk taker! his was a shoe maker! You! greatest hits! 2006! list maker!"), only heightens the frenzy. The unhinged snarl of the verses bring Vampire Weekend down to earth in a way that will make the most devoted Vampire Weekend doubters give a double-take.

What pulls "Cousins" together from a fun racket into a genuine song, however, is the glorious instrumental chorus where twin guitars break into a contest to see who can pick out descending notes the fastest. Surf music, post punk and indie rock attitude hasn't been combined this effectively since The Pixies, but even they never sounded like they were ever having this much fun.

Song after the jump:

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