Contra

Studio Album by released in 2010

Contra review

What follows the striking start?

You can not avoid this question. It arises inevitably every time you are about to listen to a new work from a young band having only two albums, and the debut one is actually the reason why you are still interested in them. In such cases, you wonder if they can offer something stronger than what they have already done. Will the New York indie-rockers Vampire Weekend outdo themselves releasing their sophomore long player? This American outfit raised quite a stir delivering two years ago an amazing eponymous album. Although critics unanimously qualified this band to the indie-rock league, it is really risky to name it ‘just another indie-rock act’. This is rather a group whose music has much in common with this genre, but at the same time absorbs lots of things from other trends. In the early 2010, Vampire Weekend presented a much-anticipated continuation of their musical story in the shape of the second studio work, Contra. It goes without saying that this release will go through massive comparisons with its predecessor, and many skeptics will confidently say that the test will not be passed. The debut was too good, you know. But the musicians, in their turn, apparently, did not plot a battle between their works. So, we will just listen to their new record as it is worthy of that.

Contra is a brave step forward

When a band gives away a strong, impressive and memorable start, it is very tempting to suppose that its new album will be just the re-making of what they successfully did on the earlier CD. After all, the musicians have the right to stick to what they are good at. Such ideas must have crossed minds of many listeners who planned to taste Contra. Considering that, the musicians decided to open the new long player with Horchata, a song sounding a lot like the tracks from the first effort, and yet it would look a stranger among them. That is the way chosen by Vampire Weekend to perform a dangerous passing from the debut album to a new sounding. White Sky seems but a mindless number, a pleasure for the band to play, but, as a matter of fact, it is a technically tough composition. The listener will know understand that the members of the band set a goal to evolve professionally and evidently succeeded. However, the general atmosphere of the music remained the same. This is still an abundance of positive energy and light emotions, proved excellently by Holiday. Rock-music is a variety of experiences, the heat of feelings; and here, among the drive-ridden songs, you will find a low-tempo, touching ballad. This is Taxi Cab, wisely placed at the middle of the album. The most experimental number here is Diplomat’s Son, It was an adventurous, if not dangerous, step to build this composition on the solid foundation of exotic rhythms, powerful bass and hip-hop intonations, but the game was worth the candles. It resulted in a very interesting piece you first take time to get used to and then can not do without.

Vampire Weekend: a band with big ambitions and long future

If you plan to start a band, you should know that the very fact of your existence will be of no interest to the audience for the number of the music performers today is beyond the imagination of many of us. An impressive debut now is also a frequent thing in the music world. The making of the first album as often as not takes several years. Internet gives an opportunity to arrange a nice promotion while state-of-art equipment may help inexperienced beginners sound so well that you might think they are distinguished veterans of this craft. Now, most of the music lovers tend to watch closely what happened to the young bands AFTER their courageous beginning. Will they be able to find their own niche, face and voice in the densely populated area of their colleagues who appear direct competitors? Can they think differently, free of stereotypes, or are they good only at doing what has been done better before? The young US band Vampire Weekend’s second album answers these and many other similar questions. And these answers give hope and confidence to those who support these musicians. Contra is not a copy of the most successful parts of the debut effort. It is a consistent continuation of the creative journey, a step forward, a jump high up. Guys, carry on like that, will you?