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Vampire Weekend 

Vampire Weekend (XL)

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Vampire Weekend has been buzzing the blogosphere for almost a year now. Some overzealous hipsters even named the Brooklyn band's self-titled debut "Best Album of 2007" . . . even though it wasn't released in 2007. Fresh out of Columbia University, these four smarty-pants sing about French designer Louis Vuitton, Cape Cod, and the correct use of commas — subjects that come off way pretentious, no matter how you look at them, but more so in the hands of cardigan- and polo-wearing Ivy League grads.

But Vampire Weekend actually gets away with it. The preps make lines like "You're walking across the campus/Cruel professor/Studying romances" sound quirky, not pompous. It helps that they play music that mixes stripped-down indie rock with splashes of Afropop. "Walcott" begins with a torrent of fluttering piano, "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" rides a repetitive but hooky three-chord guitar riff, and "A-Punk" messes around with the beat enough times to keep listeners alert. Comparisons to Paul Simon's Graceland and Talking Heads' entire catalog are unavoidable, but Vampire Weekend offers its own thrills.

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