Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Track Review: "Horchata" by Vampire Weekend

The biggest non-African Afropop band of 2008 has finally made their long-awaited return, announcing their forthcoming follow up to their critically and commercially hailed debut, a little album they like to call "Contra," coming in January 2010. The first officially released track off the record, entitled "Horchata," quietly made its way onto the internet this week via the band's official website. Many have predicted that Vampire Weekend's second album will trail behind the first one on account of being more of the same. Is it humanly possible for Vampire Weekend to lose their knack for writing infectiously catchy music? Or are the best of days yet to come?

So far, it's looking like the former.

Horchata is everything I expected it to be: banal, bland, and boring. As someone who's actually not afraid to admit that I still return to the album chronically, it feels nearly tragic that the band seems to have lost their touch that so captivated audiences last year.....nearly. The fact of the matter is, the initial shock value that came from Vampire Weekend's originality has worn off by now. Unless the band makes a drastic transition a la Radiohead, the band is unfortunately doomed to suffering waves of criticism for borrowing from...well...themselves. As said before, it's all what we expected: the same ol' keys, the same ol' strings, the same ol' attitude, the same ol'....you get the idea.

The song itself runs in circles; it doesn't really have a starting point or a build, or an ending, for that matter. Perhaps the layers of marimbas or reverb-induced vocals were relied upon to rescue the track from any comparisons to the rest of the band's catalogue. Though interesting ideas, they simply did not mesh well with the tone of the track. Not to mention that frontman Ezra Koenig's lyrics have taken a turn for the worse:

"In December drinking horchata
I'd look psychotic in a balaclava
Winter's cold is too much to handle
Pincher crabs that pinch at your sandals"

Yeah. He wrote that.

Then again, his truism about pincher crabs has a universal appeal. Maybe.

Rating (out of 10): 5
Vampire Weekend- Hor(rible)chata

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