Collegiate. Preppy. Are these good words to associate with rock music? And for that matter, can you get away with describing your music as 'Upper West Side Soweto'?
Apparently you can. What this New York four piece have with this self produced debut is a catchy collection of short, sharp, afro-infused, pop-rock which keeps your feet tapping all the way through its 35 minutes and will surely appear on plently of album of the year lists even though we are still in the icy claws of January. In fact it's a shame that this album has been released now rather than nearer the summer as it's one of those albums you want to take to the park with you whilst you enjoy a picnic and some ill-judged ball games.
There's some Paul Simon in there and some Talking Heads too. Peter Gabriel even gets name checked in 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa' and singer Ezra Koenig sometimes sounds a little like Sting but it seems to be a joyful appropriation of influences rather than a blatant ripping off of others excellence.There is a healthy dose of classical strings and harpsichord as well just so we don't forget that these are Columbia graduates but it combines well on the whole, each track individual and interesting although I don't know that I'll be able to take M79 seriously again, having read Alexis Petridis compare it to the Ski Sunday theme tune in The Guardian. But maybe I'm not supposed to take it seriously. I'm off to pump up the football and plan a picnic.
Vampire Weekend - M79