New Music Corner: Vampire Weekend Takes Novel Direction With Newest Release


vampire weekend

Ryan Weicht Staff Writer

After years of silence, Vampire Weekend news has recently surged following the announcement of new singles and a forthcoming LP titled “Father of the Bride.” Just recently, the album cover and its May 3 release date were published to the public. The band committed to releasing new singles each month, and on March 6 it delivered two songs named “Sunflower” and “Big Blue” to fans. Seven days later, a music video accompanying “Sunflower,” featuring Jerry Seinfeld and directed by Jonah Hill, was published on YouTube. While the first two singles, “Harmony Hall” and “2021,” were fairly consistent with the band’s prior work, the more recent music suggests a markedly different sound. Vampire Weekend will begin touring North America this summer and play a Philadelphia show on September 4. This album will be its fourth, following “Vampire Weekend” (2008), “Contra” (2010) and “Modern Vampires of the City” (2013).

“Sunflower” is a short song featuring Steve Lacy, guitarist of “The Internet.” One can instantly hear that the single diverges from the band’s previous grand tones. Quick, punchy guitar and bass lines assault listeners throughout the duration of the tune, providing boldness without being too serious. The instrumentation is funky and fun, and the prominent scatting with faint laughing noises marks the track with humor and lightness. Along with embracing this touch of silliness, the song exposes listeners to psychedelic vibes that enter the realm of old-school jam bands. This psychedelic idea is reinforced by the spinning, fantastical music video. Following the floral, echoing January singles, “Sunflower” is a curveball that redirects expectations for the band’s new album.

“Big Blue” is a similarly short track that harkens back to prior works but still presents a surprising twist in its sound. The song begins with regal sounds and lyricism that are familiar to the band. However, the sudden addition of a mellow, bluesy slide guitar strongly reminiscent of George Harrison’s style changes the angle of the entire track. This new factor transports the Ivy League tone to a more rural, kaleidoscopic soundscape, creating a constant vacillation between conflict and harmony. “Big Blue” is a distinct sign that Vampire Weekend will be making major changes to its earlier musical approaches.

With the addition of these two singles to the two preceding releases, the ambiance of “Father of the Bride” is all over the place. It will be interesting to see what overall aesthetic Vampire Weekend will craft to pull together its LP. With less than two months until the grand unveiling, fans will not need to wait much longer to find out.