The Faithless, They Don’t Love You
Claimed I would post twice last week but I was too dissatisfied with my Vampire Weekend write-up, so I ditched previous drafts and spilled a new one this morning. Took long enough for me to get it sort-of right. I guess real critics got the album long in advance, because I can’t figure out how they could pen anything worthy of VW’s finest in a short time span. Anyway, I’ll try to get another one in this week, but if I don’t you can expect an update on Turkey’s protests within a few days.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND – Modern Vampires of the City (XL Recordings): Wherein Ezra Koenig ditches Paul Simon’s afrobeat, exposes his inner contrarian, and opts for a tone so down-tempo you’re tempted to think there’s something missing even with few listens under your belt. But trust vampire-hunting Koenig, mad multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij, and newly-hired producer Ariel Rechtshaid to perform their respective parts—EK backs his God-confronting poesy with powerful pipes; RB knows which piano chords or string arrangements ought to shrink or swell; AR rightly tosses anything sounding too similar to previous work, both theirs and others’. The end result is a near-perfect, forty-three minute wrestling match between Vampire Weekend and the world: e.g. their stalwart unbeliever pals, wizened but too-proud aging baby boomers, and the Big Man upstairs. “Does it bother you / the low click of a ticking clock?” Koenig poses to peers living too much like there’s no tomorrow. “Wisdom’s a gift but you’d trade it for youth / Age is an honor but it’s still not the truth,” he shrugs to people like his parents. Ever concerned of impending death, they roll through high-octane guitar mania on fear-no-death “Diane Young,” stroll from sparse doldrums-dwelling to piano-pounding heights on girl-as-God “Hannah Hunt,” the energy and tenor of the vocals directing the tunes more than previous albums—range-roaming voice manipulation, leaps from toad bass to chirruping falsetto—all climaxing with “Ya Hey,” the best song Koenig will ever write; its ominous thudding stomps, fogged and swirling organ, background choral chuffs, and digitally mixed pronunciations of His name one long, continuous climb from observations-as-evidence “Zion doesn’t love you / Babylon don’t love you” to ultimate plead “You won’t even say your name / Only ‘I am that I am’ / But who could ever live that way?” Skidding between accusatory, helplessness, confusion, pent-up anger, and genuine curiosity, it’s the flawless culmination of everything here, the inevitable final act you never saw coming. Three albums and all they do is get better. Someone call Yorke and Butler; Koenig’s gunning for Best Band in the World. A
WUSSY – Duo (Shake It EP): Seven song Record Story Day acoustic EP featuring vocalists Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker, a primer for their upcoming fifth studio venture rather than a reinterpretation of previous work a la 2011’s RSD-release Funeral Dress II. So without having electrically experienced these first I found them lacking bite, a sentiment I wanted to shed. But I was right; it’s meant to sway rather than sting: Cleaver’s alcohol-fueled yarn of a punch-drunk birdman, Walker reluctantly rolling off that to “blame yourself / save yourself” is the “New American Standard.” Only 600 copies available and already they’re sold out. Guess you’ll have to scour the net or hope some of these wind up on the new record. A MINUS