Every year there’s a new band that sets the Internet ablaze with hype and buzz so early that by the time the band releases a record, the backlash is potent and aggressive. Brooklyn’s gang of snotty Columbia grads, Vampire Weekend, have experienced this, but none of the detractors actually discuss the music. On its self-titled debut record on XL Recordings, the band blends indie-pop with afro-pop so smoothly and assuredly that, yes, you kind of do hate them a little. But the skill is undeniable, a blending of sugar-high, smart pop with Paul Simon “Graceland”-era tones. Each song, its own bracing entity, overflows with young, heartfelt adoration for life, love and longing. (No one can tell me they don’t like “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” a song that, I’m convinced, is impossible not to like.) The string arrangements reach levels of unexpected sublimity, even as the piercing vocals become slightly unbearable. There’s even a little Mark Mothersbaugh instrumental influence (think the scores for the Wes Anderson films). No band really ever lives up to overwhelming hype, and Vampire Weekend is no exception—they’re an imperfect group of kids who are probably too smart for their own good, but must be commended for making a record that’s so accessible and yet so strange. (Tom Lynch)
Vampire Weekend plays April 6 at Metro, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203, at 9pm. $15.