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updated: 5/15/2013 3:50 PM

Vampire Weekend turns down tempo on 3rd CD

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  • Vampire Weekend, "Modern Vampires of the City"

    Vampire Weekend, "Modern Vampires of the City"
    Associated Press/XL Recordings

Associated Press

Vampire Weekend, "Modern Vampires of the City" (XL Recordings)
After releasing two bouncy albums of reggae-flavored pop laced with African rhythms, Vampire Weekend turns down the tempo and ups the indie-rock vibe on its third effort. "Modern Vampires of the City," which the band characterizes as the culmination of a trilogy, puts singer-songwriters Ezra Koenig and Rostam Batmanglij's guitars and harmonies front and center.

The New York quartet maintains the layered arrangements it established as its signature on its self-titled 2008 debut and 2010's "Contra," with organs and strings in the musical mix. But the vocals are more in focus here, with a choir adding haunting depth to the two closing tracks, "Hudson" and "Young Lion."

These 12 new songs are more coffee house than college party, but that's not a bad thing. There are enough upbeat entries -- including cleverly titled rockabilly single "Diane Young" -- to satisfy expectations, and the slower pace allows Vampire Weekend to show what else it can do.

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