If 2008 can yet be dubbed ‘the year of’ anything just yet, it might be something connected with being the first time our music’s education - and ultimately, class - has been so finely deconstructed since the mid-nineties. For while Liam Gallagher is probably still waging war on those who’d rather speak with more than a single syllable per sentence, where Oxford’s (and that’s the university rather than just the town) Foals are the British equivalent of proud Ivy League graduates Vampire Weekend. The way trends appear to be going, we’ll be reviewing records by a member of the Royal Family soon (our money’s on Beatrice).
And yet it’s all such a terrible shame. For while a not inconsiderable number are off discussing their offspring’s chances of making Later with Jools Holland when looking at primary schools, there’s a Very Good album here being ignored.
Of course it is actually impossible to ignore the New Yorkers’ intelligence - they’ve named a song after superfluous punctuation, something which undoubtedly warmed the hearts of pretentious bloggers worldwide, finally appearing to discovering a band whose self-importance matched their own! However, it’s just a part of their debut long-player: you don’t need a degree to understand it.
Like the musical equivalent of Stephen Fry, Vampire Weekend have created a record which includes the kind of structures, influences and classical elements that your average Hard-Fi fan isn’t likely to understand, but present them in such a way that doesn’t yell ‘LOOK AT US, WE’RE USING COMPLICATED STUFF AND YOU’RE LISTENING TO RUBBISH COD REGGAE! HA!’, instead offering the most successful use of a string section since Blur’s ‘The Universal’. And we’re not quite sure when ‘Greensleeves’ became so undeliberately cool.
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