Rostam Batmanglij, one half of the creative force behind Vampire Weekend, has gone solo. He’s posted two new tracks on his Tumblr page: firstly ‘Wood’, followed by ‘Don’t Let It Get to You’. Excited? Apprehensive? You probably should be.
‘Wood’ sounds like George Harrison having a picnic with Sufjan Stevens on a sunny afternoon in Central Park. By this rather odd simile, I mean that the track shares the same Eastern influence that you’ll recognise in The Beatles’ ‘Love You To’ and ‘Within You, Without You’, in that it uses tabla to provide the track’s underpinning beat (as well as a sitar), but also includes Sufjan’s signature orchestral flourishes. Despite this, it still sounds a lot like Vampire Weekend due to the youthful, sunny optimism that characterises all of their work.
‘Don’t Let It Get to You’ is immediately exciting, beginning with what sounds like an electronically-produced marching band. This marching band sound is used to create a delightfully ‘lazy’ beat, in that it’s not quite rhythmically consistent, but not so much so that it’s distracting. A warm fuzz bass and a bubbling synth accompany Rostam’s vocal as it enters, creating a texture that you can’t help but quietly smile at. The song is slightly let down by its middle section, which features a less than inspired vocal line and a similarly dull piano accompaniment, although this isn’t enough to detract from the overall feel-good nature of the track.
So if you were hoping for some more Vampire Weekend, you won’t be disappointed here, and there’s still enough of a difference to justify calling it a solo project. However, if you were hoping for some Vampire Weekend that you could listen to during the winter, you’ll feel slightly let down as both of these tracks feel undeniably summery, much like all the other music they produce. Clearly, every day is a sunny day when you’re Rostam Batmanglij.