After their much-anticipated return with the duo of tracks ‘Harmony Hall / 2021’, Vampire Weekend have dared to keep us in the dark longer than they promised. Although the band vowed to release a couple of tracks monthly until the full album Father of The Bride drops this May, it’s taken since January for the boys to release ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Big Blue’.
The first track ‘Sunflower’ features Steve Lacy, guitarist and member of The Internet, and at only around two minutes, the union accomplishes an unbearably catchy refrain. The song opens with a looping riff, a compact quickstep of notes bouncing cheerfully along without stumbling over one another. Steve Lacy is featured heavily on vocals, adding an enjoyable softer tone to the addictive but ever-so-slightly higher vocal dynamic of the band we’re used to. The song is tactically compact, a clever move on their part as the higher pitched progression paired with repetitive lyrics threatens to become annoying if left to linger. To diminish this threat further, the track almost feels like it’s taking itself home from the party before it goes too far, aware it’s insistent talking might be getting too much leads itself out. Almost conscious the track’s incessant vitality could overshadow its novelty, the pace slows and the pitch sporadically lowers and the final strum signals final call.
Once again, the band have paired a pacier track with one akin to a long exhale, with ‘Big Blue’ equally repetitive lyrically, but incorporating gospel style vocals and melodies reminiscent of ones favoured in Modern Vampires of the City. Although the lyrics of the song as a whole feel a little underwhelming in terms of inventiveness (it’s no ‘Hannah Hunt’), the opening couplet is nothing short of bloody lovely. As Ezra croons ‘Big Blue / For once in my life I felt close to you’, he manages to amalgamate feelings of melancholy with nostalgia and just a hint of ardour – despite it not being at all explicit who or what he’s addressing.
The title artwork suggests an accepted theme, a blank white background accompanied by a punching one tone coloured image. This release fronts a cartoon blue paint splat, somehow an underwhelming notion to the existential notions featured in the track ‘Big Blue’, but the right colour, nonetheless. The theme of the tracks was a hint to their now revealed album cover, a blank white background (surprise) with an illustrated earth encircled by the album title.