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Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Released on XL Recordings, 1/29/08

It's prudent to mention that the ninth track on Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut, a song called "I Stand Corrected", takes its primary melody from the chorus of Ted Leo's 2003 hit "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone". Leo fans that bother with Vampire Weekend will hear it straight off; they suck the lyrics right out of Leo's iconic moment.

I'm going to make this a big deal because "I Stand Corrected" was the moment when my uncertainty towards Vampire Weekend calcified and became mild disdain. For a band enjoying so much buzz, I find Vampire Weekend difficult. Massive enthusiasm rarely influences what I listen to, especially since I set up something of a force field to keep out the hype -- or at least establish my own opinion.

Many people are massively enthusiastic about Vampire Weekend, New York's blandest contribution to "bouncy", "jangly", "indie" pop. Watching the band spew through the hype machine has been trying, because they sound loose and boring. The reference points I've read -- comparisons to Paul Simon are particularly baffling -- oversell a band that is basically an uncoordinated version of already shaky bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Tokyo Police Club.

Like these bands, I find Vampire Weekend momentarily charming and energetic, but wildly overrated. At best, Vampire Weekend sound as though its members have spent a lot of time reading blogs; at worst the band sounds pre-pubescent, like upper-upper-middle class New England high schoolers fumbling through Police covers. For better or worse, that's what they are: the band met at Columbia University and writes about things like Luis Vuitton, Cape Cod, and Sloan-Kettering. In a sunrise they see the "colors of Benetton."

Vampire Weekend is an easy listen. The record is bare and quiet. When they aren't pilfering melodies from people that rock a lot harder, they seem to be discussing topics they can relate to. But that doesn't mean I can relate.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars