After The Facts Review
After The Facts Reviews are detailed album reviews set two or three months after an album release. The purpose of these are to let the hype around the project settle before critically analyzing the work. Even the most cautious observers can get caught up in the excitement of a new release.
As album opener “Obvious Bicycle” buzzes softly in the background while I write this, I can smell the dew in Central Park, hear a train roaring in the distance, and see the dense layer of fog ruminating above New York City just like the album cover suggests. Let me prelude this review with saying Modern Vampires of the City represents “The City That Never Sleeps” in the same way Woody Allen movies of the late ’70s paid homage to the great metropolis. In a swift, 43-minute motion it soars as big as a picturesque odyssey of a lifetime in the city and as small as a simple morning in a New York café sometime in the past–both focusing on the setting’s most intimate and immediate details. It is cinematic in that there are characters, questions, and an ever present setting (which could be argued is a character). It is Vampire Weekend’s best album to date because in places where the Vampires of old would hide their New York roots in pseudo-African, peppy rock songs, these Modern Vampires step out from the shadows to deliver confident and mature anecdotes that utilize both new and old songwriting techniques. After a long-winded yet apparently crucial hiatus, the four guys from the Big Apple were able to mature into people comfortable with embracing but still questioning their ever changing identity. So naturally, these are the topics discussed on the album: the importance and restlessness of time and the introspective bravery of self-realization and spiritual questioning.