2013 has already been host to some pretty fantastic returns and comebacks, and making this year in music even more sweeter for many, beloved indie rockers Vampire Weekend returning with their third album Modern Vampires of the City in May and previewing the set with yesterday’s premiere of double A-side single “Diane Young”/ “Step”.
The boppy, energetic “Diane Young”–a rumination on aging with a title that cleverly plays on the phrase “dying young”–fits in place with the varied sonic influences and love of speed that have brought about some of the band’s best offerings in the past, weaving modern production touches in and out of several classic rock and pop tropes (including buzzing surf guitar riffs and frontman Ezra Koenig’s fascinating Elvis-y hiccup) that culminate in an insanely catchy patchwork of sound.
It’s pensive flip-side “Step” that lands as the real stunner of this one-two combo though.
Like “Young”, it also spends its thematic focus distracted with the realities of getting older (“Wisdom’s a gift, but you’d trade it for youth/ Age is an honor, it’s still not the truth”), but while marrying poignant lyrical poetics on a relatable topic to a dreamy melodic melancholia would more than suffice for any other act aiming for a stand-out entry, Vampire impresses by refusing to let that be the only level “Step” can entertain on, whether it’s the way the band playfully mocks their densely-structured songwriting with arguably their knottiest stacking of rhymes and random cultural and geographical references yet or the complex musical pedigree brought forth via the song’s multiple nods to Bay Area backpackers’ Souls of Mischief’s Grover Washington Jr.-covering-Bread-sampling deep cut “Step To My Girl” as well as the instantly recognizable strains of Johann Pachelbel “Canon in D major”.
This multi-tiered enjoyablity makes “Step” one of those songs one can endlessly be wrapped in, hopping in between all of the awe-inducing delights to be found in its byzantine musical construct and in-joke “Easter egg”-like pleasures, but in encompassing (and sort of upping the ante) on many familiar VW signatures, the track is also notable for seeming to present Vampire Weekend both celebrating themselves and paying tribute to all the fans who stuck around since the early days.
Nice to have them back.
Pre-order Modern Vampires of the City, due May 7th, here.