by Francis Andrews in New Music on Friday 18 January 2008

You’ll be hard pushed to find a group around at the moment that draw on quite the same influences as Vampire Weekend. Not since Paul Simon’s Graceland have an American band pulled elements of traditional South African music into what is otherwise straight-up US indie, and made it sound as tight and organic as they have done. Another product of New York’s burgeoning music scene, the four-piece seem unlikely messengers for the oft-subordinated sounds of Africa. Sporting the standard tight jeans and preppy youthfulness, Vampire Weekend contrast image with sound, weaving the influences of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Kanda Bongo Man into their songs with deft precision. While frontman, Ezra Koenig, cleverly soundscapes the savannah with the use of a single, standard-tuned electric guitar, it’s the percussion that really drives the music. Chris Thomson is the main hook for the African influence, and his frenetic rhythms successfully propel the listener far beyond the confines of New York. The sound is uncluttered; fresh as anything you’ll hear this year, and equally original.

Listen to Vampire Weekend’s, A Punk.