Vampire Weekend’s sophomore record is a short, sweet grower. Admittedly, I didn’t care for it after the first listen. The abstract, African-influenced sounds threw me off of what I expected from an American indie band. But after the third listen, it was clear that this electro-reggae montage is what makes this CD and this band unique. The NYC quartet mixes the sounds and beats of traditional world music and modern electronica in a poppy, refreshing way. Contra has echoes of the Monkees, the Shins, New Order, and at times -- dare I say -- Jimmy Buffet and Harry Belafonte.

This album is as hopeful as it is kitschy and romantic. It's "hipster date music" -- seriously unserious. Songs such as "Horchata," "Holiday," and "Cousins" (the first single), leave you tapping your feet and feeling like running through the sprinklers in the summertime. And the quiet but cute "Taxi Cab" paints a vivid picture of riding with a new love in the back of a New York cab. Contra achieves its purpose: to make you feel good.

  • Album title: Contra (2010)
  • Artist: Vampire Weekend
  • Label: XL Recordings
  • Songs: (1) Horchata (2) White Sky (3) Holiday (4) California English (5) Taxi Cab (6) Run (7) Cousins (8) Giving Up the Gun (9) Diplomat's Son (10) I Think Ur a Contra

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