Surprisingly, Contra avoids the sophomore slump so many expected of Vampire Weekend, proving itself to be a bouncy, shimmering follow-up to one of the most hyped debuts of the last decade. Rather than overexploit their whole reggae-tinged pop shtick, the four-piece steps back from the steel drums to deliver some seriously out-there compositions. Lead single “Cousins” is a furious mishmash of dancehall rhythms and punk rock riffs colored with breakneck speed percussion, while “White Sky” delivers the best of the album’s delightfully trippy synth parts. The album-opening “Horchata” fluctuates between a flurry of Tahitian drums and gentle xylophone breakdowns, and acts as the perfect bridge between Contra and the band’s self-titled debut. Still, the album’s stars (namely “California English” and “Diplomat’s Son”) see the guys experimenting with wacky samples and computerized effects. It seems Vampire Weekend still have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.


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