The knee pads are on in full force for the newest flavor of the month: darlings of the collegiate lit-club circuit, Vampire Weekend. Playing a mix of indie rock and watered-down Afropop that they like to call "Upper West Side Soweto" but that is actually more reminiscent of a bad English Beat tribute band attempting to play Paul Simon's Graceland and coming up mediocre at best, this New York-based quartet first caught the insider buzz in 2006. Since then they've released a full-length, self-titled debut, appeared on David Letterman, and sat back while nerdy music critics take turns fellating them in their blogs, columns, etc. Case in point:
"Frontman Ezra Koenig appears on stage and in photo shoots like an L.L. Bean model ca. 1985, it’s all docksiders and duckboots, crisp polo shirts and crisper Levis 501s, lovingly and traditionally cuffed. His full head of thick, dark hair should appear in a Pantene commercial, and his skin is as clear as a ten-year-old’s. He’s like an indie rock porcelain doll, and certainly none of it is an accident. Their New England Prep-school aesthetic is carefully executed, from their show flyers to their album art, instantly appealing to everyone who complains about the humdrum, regular-Joe look of most indie rock bands. Rolling out of bed and walking onstage looking just like your friend with the bad temp job is, after all, as 1996 as it gets — a sentiment that’s illustrated brilliantly at the end of ‘One (Blake’s Got a New Face)’ when Koenig sings, 'All your collegiate grief has left you dowdy in sweatshirts; absolute horror.'"
- from Mike Conklin's review of the band's album--which he named best of 2007--in L magazine
See what we mean?
Vampire Weekend are basically a bunch of pretentious, preppy, bookish nerds who stumbled upon a nice little gimmick and have run with it. Nothing wrong with that. If you're Talking Heads, that is. These guys don't come even close.
They do like to amp up that silly pretentiousness factor with song titles like "Oxford Comma" (yes, it's about punctuation) and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" (really?), but "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance" had us wishing it was a prophetic ditty about themselves. Alas...
Oh, so lame.