Jack of All Parades wrote:Poor Deportee wrote:Have not stopped listening to this excellent record- though I will admit to being diverted by the new National album. The Vampire boys make a convincing argument for equal time and you strongly help their case. You have hit upon a fair number of the points that make this record memorable. They are Columbia alums and I am reasonably certain they have absorbed key lessons from the Core Curriculum. It shows in the motifs utilized within the record. I do like the religious themes you point out, in particular the play on 'the Master'. "Steps" at this stage in the year is arguably one of the best songs put out to this point. As an ensemble they have matured nicely and the songs on this record strike me as less gimmicky when compared to their earlier records.
They are also a tight playing machine now with a drum/bass section that throbs and drives the songs forward. And Ezra Konig can flat out sing. This album moves along, it is a jittery urban celebration. As I have been playing it over the past weeks I find myself often jolted back to my own halcyon days in NYC in the mid to late 70's and the feelings and thoughts that enveloped me as I came of age in that same urban Mecca. Konig and his band mates have tapped into a vein of urban angst that comes with living in a world capital with one's adult life spilling out in front of one's self. It is a scary/exhilerating feeling and one that often leaves one asking for a little of that 'warmth' that Konig seeks in "Unbelievers". Can you tell I value this record? As I said elsewhere- this band and The National are currently making vital music. Different sounds but equally honest attempts to come to grips with adulthood.
You hit the nail on the head with the boldfaced bit, Chris. I just wonder whether the twentysomethings grooving to this record have the faintest clue about the religious/spiritual underpinnings of so much of this material. A quick glance at the 'reviews' on Amazon reveal a fanbase that seems to think of this as fun, groovy pop music, full stop. (Not that there's anything wrong with managing the trick of being simultaneously light entertainment for the callow and 'deeper' entertainment for the more thoughtful; my point is just that they are probably flying way over the heads of a good chunk of their audience). This question puts me in mind of the universal embrace of Cohen's 'Hallelujah' by a mass audience that appears to be utterly oblivious to its fusion of deeply religious intent with S & M eroticism.