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“I Think UR a Contra,” which closed out Vampire Weekend’s last album, 2010’s “Contra,” revealed a side most people didn’t associate with the New York indie-rock band: tenderness. Looking back, it’s clear that song, which struck an elegiac note, was the first sign of what to expect on “Modern Vampires of the City,” the quartet’s strong new third album that marks a huge leap forward.
Showing a maturity in both the songwriting and musical ideas, it’s the rare third record that abandons what came before it. Gone are the frenetic African guitar influences and hyper wordplay that made Vampire Weekend so beloved with the college set. Now there’s an expansiveness in the music that allows the songs to unfurl instead of rebound like pinballs.