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DSC01839 While we were off to the Holy Land, the mailman dropped off 'Contra', by The Vampire Weekend. Track by track first impressions & lyric snippets after the jump.

1. Horchata: You've heard this. The first single. I still love it. D hates it.

2. White Sky: Lyrics like "Why are all the horses racing taxis in the winter?", harmony singing and a chorus that sounds like Paul Simon being tickled with a feather.  Radio friendly unit shifter.

3. Holiday: Uptempo, carried by the Congolese finger piano. Plink-a-plonk (repeat). Lyric: "She'd never seen the word 'bombs' blown up/ to 96 point futura." Can't decide whether I like this track or dismiss it as college kid twaddle with a nice sound.

4. California English: Autotune. It's happening. This is Paul Simon talking your face off and humming a tune too fast after an accidental intake of speed at a Kanye West party. Violins twiddle as Ezra moans: "Baby, please don't lose you faith in the good earth." I'm dancing behind my desk at this point.

5. Taxi Cab: My favouite so far. Simple pop tune. Sounds like Hot Chip playing Beethoven. "You're not a victim/But neither am I/Nostalgic for garbage/Desperate for time". More violins.

6. Run: It's dawning on me that I'll be playing this album a lot. Horns come in. A love song about white boy meets white girl with rich parents living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, actually mentioning the word "fund"? Why not.

7. Cousins: Uptempo. Lyric: "You were born with ten fingers and you're going to use them all." Ok. Liked this the first time I played the album. Don't like it as much the second time. Tubular bells and frantic drumming can't save this.

8. Giving up the gun: Please make this a single."You felt the coming wave/Told me we'd all be brave/You said you wouldn't flinch... But in the years that passed/Since I saw you last/You haven't moved an inch." Great track. Turning volume up.

9. Diplomat's son: First thing you hear is the M.I.A. "Hussel" sample. Pong sounds and tin drums. Summer song that switches gears a couple of times. Congolese finger piano comes in again.  Like it.

10. I think ur a contra: Sad, confused love song with a tinkling piano, hand drums and a shaker.  Violins swoop in. End credits.

The booklet thanks 'suburban punks everywhere' and yeah that's kinda lame, but somehow the whole thing works. Overall, I think this is a better album than I hoped for. I'll be playing it in the car, at work and in the background when I'm hanging out with my baby. Can't get a better review than that.