No.9: Vampire Weekend – Contra
There are generally two rules to follow if you want your album to stand a good chance of appearing in Best Of Year lists: First – don’t release it in November, December or January. Second – don’t be called Scouting for Girls.
Well, always up for a challenge are Vampire Weekend. Releasing Contra when the year was a measly 11 days old and still bloated from festive celebrations, it would have to be pretty damn special to still be at the forefront of our minds almost 12 months down the line. Yet it is, very much so.
At the time of release we praised them for making a record ‘that will challenge the preconceptions of both fans and non-fans alike’, and urged listeners to ‘ stick with it, because Contra will faithfully repay the time that you put into it.’ We needn’t have worried. 2010 has seen them headline their first UK Festival (Latitude – review here) as well as their touring progress beyond the academy level – they recently played a triumphant, sold-out show at London’s Alexandra Palace.
The African influences of their debut still very much remain, as does Ezra Koenig’s light-as-air voice; however many songs on Contra take control of the VW template, and gently nudge it into pastures new. Contra wasn’t about consolidation, and it sounds all the better for it.
So, the first mainstream indie release of the decade also turned out to be one of 2010′s best. Huzzah.
Buy Contra here