CD reviews for Feb. 1 |

CD reviews for Feb. 1

Margaret Hair

Vampire Weekend

“Vampire Weekend”

Vampire Weekend is not terribly impressive. And its brand of diverse pop songs isn’t the kind of thing you hear and wonder how the band came up with it (hint: they listen to Afro-pop).

Still, Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut is one of the most giddily likeable records to come out of polished, preppy indie rock in a long time. It’s the kind of thing you find yourself listening to, then starting over and listening to again – not because it’s great, but because you like it.

Theirs is a sound that most won’t try to recreate, partially because songs like “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “Oxford Comma” already are recreations of a host of diverse influences, strung together with carefully placed percussion, deliberate guitar lines and witty asides. Really the strongest thing to say about the band is that if anyone did take a shot at mimicking their mimicked sunny wryness, they would fail.

And as far as the kind of arranged complexity coming from this crop of recent, classically trained college grads, tracks like “M79” would be difficult to make more ornate, or better, than their already highly Baroque existence.

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The question you’re likely to hear about Vampire Weekend (and any band that’s gotten a similar bandwagon treatment) is whether any succeeding record will be as easy – and if it is, whether anyone will still want to listen to it.

Rating: ””

– Margaret Hair, 4 Points

The Whigs

“Mission Control”

The Whigs are a killer live band.

That’s something that for their debut “Give ‘Em a Big Fat Lip,” and now on the follow-up “Mission Control,” the band has tried to affirm with a kind of rueful classic rock touch, a nonchalant stance that turns their best songs into stompy power pop.

In a lot of ways, The Whigs have lost what few frills they had, and the band has streamlined this record to be as unpretentious, unconcerned as it can be.

“Mission Control” is at its core a classic rock record, and its title track (also the last on the CD) suggests that following the greats of the ’70s means keeping some unnecessary embellishments.

At their best, “Mission Control” and songs like it are bolstered by exuberant hornlines that retain The Whigs’ youthfully defiant edge. At their worst, those songs plod on muddy bass lines and meddle in vacant choruses.

Rating: ”’

– Margaret Hair, 4 Points

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