Father of the Bride
Ezra Koenig said he envisaged FOTB as being a double-album more akin to Springsteen’s The River than the Beatles’ White Album, by which he meant that the 18 songs within took place in the same dramatic universe, rather than being an accumulation of miscellanies accrued in the six years since the release of Modern Vampires of the City.
But within that simple bifurcation, this feels like the VW album least bound to a place and time. Koenig defined the band’s first three albums as a trilogy of his/their twenties, firmly rooted in NYC, each progressively more weighted down by the realities of passing time. Cohering the space within which FOTB exists is much more tricky, as a result of the array of collaborators (shouts to Danielle Haim), the variety of voices Koenig inhabits, a more baffling contemporary political context, and the increasingly complicated biographical details of his actual life – moving west, fatherhood, etc.
All of which this preamble neglects to say that this is a wonderful album, built around the craftsmanship of a songwriter who plays with signifiers like a virtuoso but never loses the heart. It’s all very well to draw comparisons to Paul Simon because you play some hi-life guitar lines, but it’s another thing entirely to write songs as pithy and succinct as the man himself about life, growth and change.
Words: Ian Lamont