Vampire Weekend put out this 7″ featuring their current single “Diane Young” and the B-side “Step” as a special, limited edition Record Store Day release.
If there’s one thing you have to give “Diane Young” credit for, it’s easily one of the band’s most sonically adventurous and experimental tracks yet, which is saying a lot for a band whose last album basically opened with a jingle advertising hot chocolate (“Horchata”).
“Diane Young” begins with some funky bass, electro-blips and percussion that sounds like a cross between a clapper and someone snapping their fingers. “You torched a Saab like a pile of leaves, I’d gone to find some better wheels,” sings Ezra Koenig with an air of Brian Setzer about his voice. His lyrics are clever, “Diane Young” sounding like “dying young,” for example, but it’s Chris Baio’s chunky but groovy bass guitar noodling that really makes the song a winner. That said, Ezra is ever the entertaining frontman and the whole band sounds great. Surf guitar, clattering drums, sci-fi keyboards — “Diane Young” might only be 2:40, but it has it all and it’s easily one of the band’s catchiest songs to date. Rarely is such an abstract song so accessible.
“Step” is more of a traditional, straightforward Vampire Weekend song. It’s a mid-tempo, ballad-esque tune that has a ’50’s vibe at times, meanwhile almost sounding like it could’ve been a Phil Spector production at others. And I could be imagining things, but it also reminds me of Leonard Cohen, particularly his early records, as well. “The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out, what you on about,” begins the smooth saccharine chorus. It would seem to be about someone trying to steal someone’s girl, but the often poetic lyrics aren’t quite clear enough to say that for certain. I especially enjoyed the clever bridge though, which ends, “everyone’s dying, but girl — you’re not old yet.”
I’m really looking forward to the band’s new album, Modern Vampires of the City, which drops May 14th, after digesting these tracks. (By the way, if you can’t find the RSD 7″ you can at least download “Diane Young” from iTunes now.)