On April 4, fan-favorite indie rock band Vampire Weekend gave fans a sneak peek of its upcoming album, “Father of the Bride,” with the release of another EP, “This Life/Unbearably White.”
“Father of the Bride,” which is set to release on May 3, will be the band’s first full-length album in six years. Its last album, “Modern Vampires of the City,” came out in 2013.
The band has been pre-releasing singles in pairs ever since Jan. 24, when it released “Harmony Hall” and “2021,” after announcing the name of the upcoming album. “Sunflower” and “Big Blue” followed on March 6.
“This Life/Unbearably White” is the band’s final release in anticipation of the full-length album.
Many of the songs on the album focus on relationships and marriage. Lead vocalist and frontman, Ezra Koenig, based “Father of the Bride” on the 1991 Steve Martin movie of the same title.
“I’ve never been married, but I think everybody thinks about those things as you get older. There’s something about “Father of the Bride” that’s almost biblical. It’s about the ties that bind, the relationships between communities, between humans and God, between people and the land they live on,” Koenig said in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine.
Koenig mentioned that this is a break from the band’s previous work, and was a natural progression from the youthful reveries of their self-titled first album, “Vampire Weekend,” to the somber musings on death presented in “Modern Vampires of the City.”
“On our first album, most of the songs were written in college, and it had a very youthful vibe,” Koenig said. “On the second and third records, the wide-eyed enthusiasm dimmed considerably. You see more of the world, and you’re more and more disheartened. But that trajectory can’t go on forever. After you make the black-and-white album cover with the songs about death, you can’t go deeper. This is the life-goes-on record.”
The “life-goes-on” theme is exactly what the latest EP offers a sneak peak of. “This Life,” the first song on the EP, makes light of a relationship that is falling apart. With a happy-go-lucky guitar riff in the chorus, Koenig faces the fact that he and his partner have fallen out of love.
“Baby, I know dreams tend to crumble at extremes/I just thought our dream would last a little bit longer,” Koenig sings.
On its surface, the music of the EP sounds happy and carefree, but a look into the lyrics reveals the tension between the protagonist and his reality. The failure of past relationships pushes Koenig to introspection, and causes him to question himself. In the chorus of “This Life,” Koenig ponders his self-worth.
“You’ve been cheating on me/But I’ve been cheating through this life and all its suffering/Oh Christ, am I good for nothing?” he asks.
In “Unbearably White,” Koenig and his partner face their future together, making peace with it.
“There’s an avalanche coming/Don’t cover your eyes,” he sings, and again a few lines later, “To learn what kept us together, darling/Is what kept us alive.”
The EP ends with “2021,” an ode to the year after next, and what is to come. Koenig sings that he hopes his band will be remembered as “life goes on.”
“2021, will you think about us?/Copper goes green, steel beams go rust,” he ponders.
Still characteristic of their classic, indie-rock style, “This Life/Unbearably White” will not disappoint longtime Vampire Weekend fans. Fans should expect the more mature “life-goes-on” theme to continue throughout “Father of the Bride,” while still paired with Vampire Weekend’s traditionally experimental sound — of which “Sunflower” is a tasteful reminder.
Techno beats and clever wordplay set up this fourth album to be just the East Coast vibe your summer was looking for: deep lyrics, washed out until they appear light, just like your saltiest sweatshirt.