It's been six years, but Vampire Weekend have still got it.
Last week Vampire Weekend broke their six year hiatus with the release of two singles: ‘Harmony Hall’ and ‘2021’. The hype is real, but it seems like ‘Harmony Hall’ seems to be getting all of the attention. ‘2021’ is being talked about as if it is an add-on when it is much more. It might even be the better of the two singles.
The track, co-produced by Koenig and Rechtshaid, samples Japanese music legend Haruomi Hosono. Koenig said: “This is music that he composed in the ’80s to be played in Muji stores in Japan (…) when I first heard it, I was so struck by it and I immediately started looping it and I started writing this song on top of it.” This might be where the single gets its electronica vibes and eclectic feel from then. This single has a great sense of movement; it’s kind of all over the place but in the best way. The ‘boy’ motif (sung by Jenny Lewis) lifts the track and is a satisfying addition to the mix.
‘2021’ looks into the future, with Koenig asking if in “2021 (…) will you think about me?” He worries that, if not, he might follow the path of “copper” that “goes green” or the “steel beams” that “rust”. Mention of steel ties in nicely with the steel guitar interludes. In fact there is a tinny atmosphere to the song, with ricocheting drum sounds also making an appearance. The minimalist mix of sounds becomes almost entrancing. Koenig doesn’t need to worry about his reputation rusting, then: after this comeback it looks like Vampire Weekend will be taking a central spot within the alternative scene for some time to come.
Vampire Weekend have promised us an 18-track double album (which rumour says will be called Father of The Bride) in Spring 2019. This will be their first LP without the full-time involvement of founding member Rostam Batmanglij. The band plan to release two more double single releases before then, with two tracks being dropped simultaneously in February and another two in March. If ‘Harmony Hall’ and ‘2021’ are anything to go by, we are certainly in for a treat from Vampire Weekend in the months to come.
‘2021’ and ‘Harmony Hall’ are available now via Sony Music.