Vampire Weekend: Father of the Bride Album Review
By Sarah Kamal
After six long and grueling years, the beloved East Coast band Vampire Weekend has finally released their fourth studio album titled “Father of the Bride.” Leading up to the release of the full length album, the group put out six singles. First they released “Harmony Hall” and “2021,” then “Sunflower” and “Big Blue,” and finally “This Life” and “Unbearably White.” The songs varied heavily with “Harmony Hall” and “This Life” paralleling the upbeat and steady-paced work the group has put out in the past while “Sunflower” and “Big Blue” showed an experimental sound that had not been heard by the group previously.
“Father of the Bride” is the first album Vampire Weekend has made since the departure of one of their founding members, Rostam Batmanglij, who left the group to pursue musical collaborations with other artists. When the group performed at Lollapalooza without Batmanglij in 2018, they played a snippet from their song, “Harmony Hall,” to an unknowing audience. They also announced that by next summer, their new album would be released. Although it took them about nine months to do so, they still fulfilled their promise.
The album was officially released on May 3, 2019 and consists of 18 tracks. Japanese listeners of the band get to enjoy three extra bonus tracks for their special Japanese Edition of the album. All of the singles the band has released leading up to the album are featured on the record. Apart from the fact that they are trying to move in a new direction from their previous sound, “Father of the Bride” is very distinct for an entirely different reason. For the first time ever on a Vampire Weekend album, the band has decided to include a female voice. Long time friend Danielle Haim, apart of the pop group HAIM, is featured on three tracks on the album, “Hold You Now,” “Married in a Gold Rush,” and “We Belong Together.” Having a strong female voice featured multiple times on the album definitely adds a new element to Vampire Weekend that audiences have yet to experience and further supports the idea of inclusivity.
“Father of the Bride” explores a “springtime” kind of feel that contrasts the cold and empty feel of their previous album “Modern Vampires of the City.” Some tracks such as “Bambina” and “This Life” display a sound that is close to Vampire Weekend’s branding, which is upbeat alternative music that you can picture yourself listening to on a big yacht on the East Coast. Another track, titled “Sunflower,” truly encompasses the spring vibe that the band is trying to achieve. Its funky bass line and upbeat demeanor radiates the positive energy of a beautiful garden. It is evident to see the group’s growth in songs like “Flower Moon” and “2021” which achieves a new sound using off beats and more electronic elements.
It is hard to say when Vampire Weekend fans can expect a new album, but if it is anything like “Father of the Bride,” then it will be an album worth waiting for.