It’s been six years since we heard from Vampire Weekend. So how are they feeling these days? Judging by the lead single from their upcoming Father of the Bride, the answer is pretty, pretty good. On “Harmony Hall,” Ezra Koenig and his bandmates spend a joyful five minutes and nine seconds summoning a springtime mood, with cheery piano and sweet guitar licks that allude to their early sound while also introducing a bright new energy.
Tucked in between acoustic guitar plucks that tug at your heartstrings, Koenig surrenders to the happy-go-lucky groove and floats into the chorus. Listen closer, and the words contrast with the music’s upbeat mood: “Anybody with a worried mind could never forgive the sight/Of wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified/I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die.” The last line is a callback to Vampire Weekend’s 2013 album Modern Vampires of the City, where it appeared on the rapid-fire track “Finger Back.” Today, Koenig sounds less afraid of the sentiment than he did six years ago, even if he’s still wrestling with some of the same old existential doubts. (Right before the chorus, he sighs, “Thought that I was free from all that questioning/But every time a problem ends/Another one begins.”)
Vampire Weekend spent their first three albums coming of age, from the Ivy League drama of Vampire Weekend and Contra to the post-grad, real-world crash-course blues of Modern Vampires of the City. Now, it seems, they’ve settled into adulthood, and with “Harmony Hall” they’re warming up to the idea of embracing what that means.