Albums to watch

Contra

Vampire Weekend

Contra

Second album of African influenced indie pop / rock from New York four-piece

ADM rating[?]

7.6

Label
XL
UK Release date
11/01/2009
  1. 8.6 |   Pitchfork

    It's like they've spent the past two years building a bionic version of the band - not only brighter and tighter, but weirder. The group nurtures its eccentricities and the result is a record full of them
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  2. 8.0 |   music OMH

    Impeccably produced once again by the band's keyboards geek Rostam Batmanglij, this follow-up to their eponymous debut they've kept the elements that made that debut such a hit, whilst also evolving their sound lest it go stale
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  3. 8.0 |   Clash

    Vampire Weekend remain the most unlikely crowd pleasers and long may they continue to make the unapproachable not just relevant but entirely necessary
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  4. 8.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Where much of the first album's charm was conceptual — Ivy League guys mashing up J.D. Salinger and King Sunny Adé — here the band has put on some muscle
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  5. 8.0 |   Spin

    Vampire Weekend aren't just good at being smart, they're smart at being good
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  6. 8.0 |   Q

    Print edition only

  7. 8.0 |   Uncut

    There is very little in the way of rock'n'roll on Contra - and in truth it's all the better for it. But, bold, beautiful and carefully contrary, it's an album by a band in complete control
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  8. 8.0 |   Mojo

    "You wanted rock and roll/ You wanted complete control,"... There is very little in the way of rock'n'roll on Contra - and in truth it's all the better for it. But, bold, beautiful and carefully contrary, it's an album by a band in complete control
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  9. 8.0 |   Eye Weekly

    The first real instance of what the band seemed to be moving towards all along: a singular brand of restless, polyglot pop-rock. Not to mention an irresistible one
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  10. 8.0 |   NME

    Much less immediate than its predecessor, requiring a bit of patience to uncover its true shades, contours and charm. But it’s certainly worth sticking with, because with their second album Vampire Weekend have escaped their collegiate niche without sacrificing their true essence
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  11. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    The 10 tracks appeal more with every play: initially sounding a bit like Paul Simon's Graceland being covered by 90s geeks They Might Be Giants, they will probably be among this year's most played and most joyful tunes
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  12. 8.0 |   The Independent

    Quite literally, a world of fun
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  13. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    The erudite uptown New York jive merchants have cornered the market in smart indie-pop with an Afrobeat pep to its step
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  14. 8.0 |   The Times

    The reason that Koenig will have to put up with frequent Paul Simon comparisons is the whip-smart New York narratives that, when he doesn’t render them explicit, he is wont to imply with a teasing lyrical detai
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  15. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    Contra confirms Vampire Weekend as real contenders
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  16. 8.0 |   State

    ...may have joined the ranks of the likes of The Strokes, Weezer and Arctic Monkeys as another band who once produced something truly awesome and which they must then spend their entire career attempting to better
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  17. 8.0 |   Daily Telegraph

    ...the boys have a delightfully dexterous way with the jambo jangle of those African electric guitars and drums which they flavour eclectically with fashionable retro electropop
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  18. 8.0 |   Eye Weekly

    ...the first real instance of what the band seemed to be moving towards all along: a singular brand of restless, polyglot pop-rock. Not to mention an irresistible one
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  19. 8.0 |   No Ripcord

    Contra has its faults—the ill-advised production, the jarring styles, the traces of arena-rock. But you have to admire it nonetheless, and not only for the stellar songwriting: there’s not a single song on Contra that could be mistaken for Vampire Weekend
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  20. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    Contra may not propose much of a rebuttal to those who thumbed their nose up at the band’s past work, but it’s not difficult to see how it could strengthen their core audience while netting them some new fans at the same time
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  21. 8.0 |   FasterLouder

    ...it’s a closer relative of St Vincent’s Actor, or Grizzly Bear’s While You Wait For the Others, where the delicate, often lovely melodies act as Trojan Horses for the lyrical venom
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  22. 8.0 |   Click Music

    Second albums are rarely a success. More often than not, they're disasters. 'Contra' might not be the choc-box of infectious pop you expected, but it's more than good enough to eat
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  23. 8.0 |   Observer Music Monthly

    ...spills over with limber rhythms and percussive bounce, evoking sunny, "exotic" climes far from ice-cool Manhattan
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  24. 8.0 |   The Australian

    Contra is not as immediately catchy as Vampire Weekend's sublime first album, but it is luscious, deftly crafted and fully formed
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  25. 8.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    The seemingly simple tone and perfectly polished sound make Contra an easy listen... Contra proves all over again that Vampire Weekend is one of the most original and enjoyable acts of recent years.
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  26. 7.5 |   The Quietus

    One suspects the New Yorkers have fudged rather then definitively solved the "stick or twist?" second album conundrum, but when the music is as guilelessly joyous as it is on this album's finest moments, it seems churlish to complain
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  27. 7.0 |   Rave Magazine

    Contra doesn’t contain anything near as fun or memorable as Oxford Comma or Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, but it’s agreeable and uncomplicated
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  28. 7.0 |   Independent on Sunday

    On balance, Contra is exuberant enough to make you forget most of your qualms about sincerity, and simply enjoy it
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  29. 7.0 |   The Fly

    Underneath all the self-plagiarism, ‘Contra’ is still an incredibly strong album, but it’s not until the final, low-key, string-led swoon of ‘I Think Ur A Contra’ that it becomes an exciting album
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  30. 6.0 |   Blurt

    Speedy, synthy and filled with scads of quaint dancehall reggae/electro touches
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  31. 6.0 |   The Scotsman

    A more subtle and less immediate start to this year
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  32. 6.0 |   The Skinny

    ...their afro-rumba dance contains a couple of missteps, notably the meandering, vocoder-heavy California English
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  33. 6.0 |   Scotland on Sunday

    ...sounds a little too pleased with itself, each song glorying in its quirk and cleverness
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  34. 6.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    ...there’s less to love, less giddiness, less presence, fewer serendipitous moments of daft joy, and that's a shame
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  35. 5.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    ...never, at one moment does it take on the appearance of a true front-to-back effort, reveling instead in an outright jumble of tunes that have little to do with each other
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Vampire Weekend: Contra

  • Download full album for just £8.49
  • 1. Horchata £0.89
  • 2. White Sky £0.89
  • 3. Holiday £0.89
  • 4. California English £0.89
  • 5. Taxi Cab £0.89
  • 6. Run £0.89
  • 7. Cousins £0.89
  • 8. Giving Up The Gun £0.89
  • 9. Diplomat’s Son £0.89
  • 10. I Think Ur A Contra £0.89
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