Release the stars: A rave-worthy debut from a brainy, rangy band
When a record has not only no bad songs but no bad moments, when basslines bounce like rubber, when drums do more than keep time—when they roll and tumble in hypnotic patterns—and when vocals glide between the mannered crooning of an over-privileged indie boy and the spastic yelping of a shocked dog, well, what are we supposed to do? Not love it? Vampire is Anglo-Afro fusion on par with Graceland. It sounds like David Byrne fronting Orchestra Baobab. It sounds like The Strokes with a sense of humor. It sounds like indie rock simultaneously gentrifying and miscegenating—despite rumors to the contrary, the neighborhood’s getting better, more interesting and more colorful. These days, it ain’t just surly white dudes playing shitty guitar for other surly white dudes. Indeed, this cosmopolitan quartet has streamlined ska, post-punk, chamber music and Afropop into a glorious ultramodern groove.