Vampire Weekend, "Cousins"

88 Billboard Rating

Two years after taking the indie-rock world by storm with its much blogged-about self-titled debut, Vampire Weekend returns with "Cousins," the first single from its forthcoming second album, "Contra." Recorded in Mexico City, the two-and-a-half-minute burner focuses on the band's more rambunctious tendencies, with Ezra Koenig delivering mean, Ventures-esque surf guitar lines over a frenetic post-punk rhythm that recalls Wire. Bassist Chris Baio has called it the band's "heaviest" song, not to be undone by Koenig's intriguingly nonlinear lyrics. "Cousins" finds the boat-shoed singer/songwriter offering zingers like, "Dad was a risk taker/His was a shoemaker/ You, greatest-hits 2006 little list-maker." None of it makes much sense, but then again, neither did Koenig's head-scratching odes to Oxford commas and Lil Jon. Besides, isn't that what quality new wave is all about? --Ron Hart

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