Track Review: Vampire Weekend “Walcott”


    If the preppy sweaters and the New York Times features have you rooting for an instantaneous Vampire Weekend backlash, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. The Columbia graduates’ self titled debut album is actually fiendishly charming. The Kenya via Graceland guitars that have so far been the press discussion point of choice don’t saturate the track list, so "one trick pony" accusers might be surprised to find more than one track of gimmick-free indie-pop contained within. "Walcott" sprints forward on sloppy piano notes and a bouncy Strokes’ bassline. But unlike the faux scuzz that made that band of poor little rich kids famous, there’s no way anyone could ever accuse Vampire Weekend of disingenuously slumming it. Even before they slip in gratuitous references to a lobster claw and deem Hyannisport "a ghetto" in a peak of snob hilarity, the mannered string section reeks of affluence. But it’s kind of novel, really. For most of its history, rock music has pretended to be the voice of the lust plagued working class even when it’s been recorded by millionaires. These guys don’t smugly gloat, but they make any silly excuses for the sake of street cred either. Post-adolescent dissatisfaction is universal enough that the desire to get the hell out of town will always be understood. If your starting point happens to be Cape Cod, why pretend it’s South Boston?