Music Review: Vampire Weekend's hectic, difficult ‘Only God Was Above Us’ honors NYC.  

"Only God Was Above Us" is the most difficult album by American rock band Vampire Weekend. You might say it's like a musical adrenaline rush. Nevertheless, the benefits it offers are worthwhile to seek out. You can get there with some careful, repetitive listening.  

The eleven songs that make up "Only God Was Above Us" aren't going to be as memorable as the singles "Harmony Hall" and "This Life" off their most recent studio album, 2019's "Father of the Bride," which were immediately captivating.  

Only God Was Above Us" pays homage to 1980s New York City with its occasionally discordant and cacophonous sound, in contrast to "Father of the Bride" which exudes a California sunshine and Grateful Dead-infused sheen.  

Starting with lead singer Ezra Koenig yelling a profanity and featuring a frenetic guitar riff throughout, "Ice Cream Piano" sets that occasionally confusing tone before concluding with a smash of instruments.  

The most approachable song on "Only God Was Above Us" is "Gen-X Cops," which features powerful guitar and the memorable refrain "each generation makes its own apology." It takes some work to get to the bottom of the song because of all the layers, just like New York.

"Mary Boone" is the latest addition to the roster of female-named Vampire Weekend tracks, which falls into the "neither here nor there" category. There she is, joining "Hannah Hunt" and "Diane Young."

At nearly 8 minutes long, the hypnotic album conclusion and finest track, "Hope," is both eerie and reassuring, with a cacophony of sounds interrupted by Koenig's repeated plea, "I hope you let it go / I hope you let it go."

More casual Vampire Weekend listeners hoping for a rehash of their past work could find the frantic energy of "Only God Was Above Us" to be too strenuous. However, for a band that never stays there for long, it's an intriguing growth.  

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