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You're the only band in the world to have moulded the fruity shimmering of sun-baked African pop with the leather-jacketed cool of 21st century New York rock 'n' roll, delivered it with the diligence of first-class honours students with tidy haircuts, and become a universally-lauded if unlikely international sensation as a result. You're not about to change your spots now, are you. It should come as no surprise therefore that with Contra, Vampire Weekend have delivered another full length album packed full with the same near-flawless, feather-weight indie with occasional knock-out tendencies as their eponymous first. What may be surprising though is how different a route they travelled to get to that same point this time around. Guitars are banished, or at least faded back in the mix to play textural bit parts and little more. Minimal electronic undercurrents earn a leading role, plugging a live cable into their principal artery and receiving little in the way of resistance from the main body. So the near-yodelling square dance of "White Sky", tip-toe harpsichord dub calypso of "Taxi Cab", Wacky Races jerky surf of "Cousins" and the Strokes-esque 4/4 infectiousness of "Giving Up The Gun" are all given a modern and thoroughly refreshing jab in the rear. And yet they all still sound, to some extent, like they could have been recorded for Paul Simon's seminal Gracelands. A compositional triumph that may side-step the immediacy of their debut, but turns out all the richer for it.
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  • Seller location: Hawera, Taranaki, NZ

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