Vampire Weekend, “Father of the Bride” (Columbia Records)
Vampire Weekend is back after six years with “Father of the Bride,” a multi-layered album both musically and lyrically that washes over the listener like a ray of spring sunshine at the end of a long winter of no new music.
But listen closely to the lyrics there’s a darker undercurrent amid the breezy harmonizing, hand claps and up-tempo jovial toe-tappers.
“I don’t want to live like this,” lead singer Ezra Koenig confesses on the first single “Harmony Hall,” ”but I don’t want to die.”
On “This Life,” Koenig chirpily sings about pain “as natural as the rain,” crumbling dreams, cheating partners and “this life and all its suffering.”
“Oh Christ, am I good for nothing?” he sings.
Um, wait. Why exactly are we dancing and smiling while listening to this?
A lot has happened since Vampire Weekend’s last album, “Modern Vampires of the City,” was released in 2013. Producer and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij left the band, but he still gets credit as a co-producer on several songs. Other guests also make an appearance, including the Internet’s Steve Lacy, Danielle Haim and Jenny Lewis.
Sure, there’s some naval-gazing amid the eclectic musical styles ranging from indie pop to ska, flamenco to jazz presented over 18 songs that clock in just under a full hour.
But through the musical gumbo, excesses, juxtapositions and contradictions, it’s hard not to get caught up in “FOTB.” It’s just good fun.