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Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride, review: joyous indie rock with a touch of intellectual grit

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Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performs at Lollapalooza 2018 in Chicago, Illinois
Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performs at Lollapalooza 2018 in Chicago, Illinois Credit: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

It’s been six years since we last heard from Vampire Weekend, the preppy American guitar band that marries slinky afrobeat licks with indie rock swagger, and gorgeous pop melodies with lyrics so smart you might need a degree (or Wikipedia) to decipher them.

Here, on the band’s fourth album, vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ezra Koenig remains a pithy phrasemaker. Jerusalem, New York, Berlin, for instance, is a piano ballad about the 1917 Balfour Declaration that proposed the establishment of the Palestine state. It is surely the most melodious ditty ever to include the phrase “genocidal feeling”. 

More impressive still, somehow Koenig’s wordplay stays playful. On We Belong Together,...

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