Vampire Weekend are finally back. After six years away, the indie group have dropped “Harmony Hall” and “2021,” the first two singles from their new album, Father of the Bride.
“Harmony Hall,” with its finger-plucked guitar melodies, uplifting instrumentation and generous five-minute runtime, seems destined to be a concert highlight. The hook “I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die” will also strike a chord with Vampire Weekend devotees—it’s a lyric from the Modern Vampires of the City song, “Finger Back.”
Meanwhile, the brief dispatch “2021” cruises quietly on a Haruomi Hosono sample, a distorted recording of Jenny Lewis singing the word “boy,” and some guitar noodling by Dave Longstreth from Dirty Projectors.
Much has changed since Modern Vampires of the City, their acclaimed 2013 album: Frontman Ezra Koenig worked on a Netflix show and had a baby; bassist Chris Baio and drummer Chris Tomson released their own solo records; and perhaps most significantly, keyboardist and songwriter Rostam Batmanglij left the band. (“Harmony Hall” does feature some production by Batmanglij, though.)
“I know that five to six years is considered a long time between records,” Koenig said in an Instagram message to fans. “Personally, I think it’s a dignified pace befitting a band that’s already placed three albums in stores but everyone has their own sense of time… This album didn’t really take any longer to write/record than MVOTC. We just took more time on the front end to chill.”
In the same message, Koenig revealed that the album is 18 songs long, and that there will be “three 2-song drops every month until the record is out.” That means we can expect more new music in February.
Welcome back, Vampire Weekend. Stream “Harmony Hall” and “2021” below: