(XL Recordings; 2010)
Indie collegiate crusaders, Vampire Weekend, have returned to the stage boasting an ambitious second album. However, ambition is not always met with success. Their follow-up effort partly retains the charm of their self-titled debut, without being repetitive. But their signature hybrid of Paul Simon/Afro-pop sound – their most unique and defining quality – and singer, Ezra Koenig’s sweet falsetto and smart upbeat lyrics have been left out of certain tracks, weakening the strength of the album.
Slowing down the tempo of many tracks seems to have messed with the band’s sound, something that was distinctly theirs on the previous record. Despite strong offerings such as “Cousins” and “Horchata,” Contra is missing something. However, the promise of certain tracks makes up for weaker ones, keeping the album from falling into the abyss of forgettable sophomore records.
Trial Track: “Cousins”