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Vampire Weekend - Only God Was Above Us

  by Zena Grieg

published: 4 / 5 / 2024

Vampire Weekend - Only God Was Above Us
Label: Columbia
Format: CD


Innovative and existential fifth album from acclaimed New York group Vampire Weekend

The title derived from the words of a survivor of a1988 Aloha Airlines flight which had suffered a major decompression, ‘Only God Was Above Us’ is the fifth album by ex-New Yorkers Vampire Weekend, a band formed in 2006 when they attended Columbia University. Co-produced by lead singer Ezra Koenig and Ariel Rechtshaid (Adele, Madonna, Solange), the album is a mix of catchy rhythms, distorted sound and unlikely sonic combinations, a sense of unease pervading throughout. It abounds in references to New York personalities and locations. Koenig called it: “A journey from cynicism to optimism.” Songs to listen out for in this ten-track collection include: the opener ‘Ice Cream Piano’ with its idiosyncratic juxtaposition of jarring strings and shrieking guitars; the impressionistic ‘Classical’ with its splashes of free jazz and deadpan lines: “How the cruel, with time, becomes classical…./A staircase up to nothingness inside your DNA”; the manic ‘Connect’ with its interplay between synths and classical music; the cinematic, layered ‘The Surfer’; the raucous, doom-laden ‘Gen-X Cops’ with its angular sound and foreboding lyrics: “Blacken the sky and sharpen the axe/Forever cursed to live unrelaxed/...Dodged the draft but can’t dodge the war/Forever cursed to live insecure”; the lush ‘Mary Boone’ with its operatic choir and expansive orchestration, recalling the 1980s Manhattan Art Dealer, whose pioneering art gallery introduced New Yorkers to new and adventurous art, until she was jailed for tax evasion; and the epic, eight-minute indie rock closer ‘Hope’ with its piercing irony and cathartic acceptance of living with conflict and immutable forces. Gritty, sonically innovative and diverse, a nostalgic snapshot of 20th century New York, ‘Only God Was Above Us’ is an exhilarating, existential ride.

Track Listing:-
1 Ice Cream Piano
2 Classical
3 Capricorn
4 Connect
5 Prep-School Gangsters
6 The Surfer
7 Gen-X Cops
8 Mary Boone
9 Pravda
10 Hope

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