Vampire Weekend's first album in six years would be so good if it was just that. An album. It's not. Instead, Vampire Weekend's first album in six years is a double album. And that just feels unnecessary.
It's not that there are any obvious clunkers or duds among the 18 tracks because there isn't really. The songs range from good right through to jam hot. They encompass a variety of moods and textures and tempos. It's more the fact that there are 18 tracks, which is a lot of tracks.
The band broke through borrowing the sound of Paul Simon's Graceland before they veered off to do their own thing. Father of the Bride sees Simon's influence return, albeit without the afro-pop stylings. Instead, they flirt with Americana, folk-pop and country at which they prove very adept.
Lyrically, the concerns have matured from worrying about Oxford commas to gravitate closer to Simon-style relationship and life musings. In the jaunty This Life, frontman Ezra Koenig admits, "Baby, I know love isn't what I thought it was," before revealing, "You've been cheating on me, I've been cheating on you, but I've been cheating through this life".
Whereas on the maudlin, late-night soft jazz of My Mistake he sighs, "Oh, I was young then, hadn't made my mistake."
Musically, however, the record's mostly summery and spritely. Early fans will bounce around to Bambina, dig the return of baroque strings on the brilliant Rich Man, admire the afro-prog rock of Sunflower and sing along to album highlight Stranger, which mashes the sound of Simon and Cat Stevens together to triumphant effect.
While you are going to need an entire weekend to get through it all, Father of the Bride ultimately proves to be both a good time and a long time.
Father of the Bride
There's a lot to like here, but there's also just a lot.