Some bands stay in a holding pattern their whole careers. Others jerk the steering wheel hard and fly off the road. On Vampire Weekend's second album they did neither. Or maybe they did both. Contra pulls off a series of impressive feats: It's bustling with fresh ideas, and yet it sounds immediately familiar; it's heavily layered but taut and kinetic; it chews ravenously through sound palettes and rhythms, and yet it's nimble and assured; it's still breezy, and yet it smolders with a newfound emotional heft. Vampire Weekend's music and lyrics serve to both construct and deconstruct a world around them. With that album, Vampire Weekend staked out an alien territory literate, crackling, alive that's unmistakably their own. Vampire Weekend's third album is titled Modern Vampires Of The City, and it will be released in the US by XL Recordings on May 7th.