I was going to say that without guitars, Vampire Weekend becomes too precious. Too cute, too island-y, too pop, too ..... something. But that's not true ... some of the best tracks on Contra lean almost completely to the electronic/laptop side of the equation.
Whatever it is, I don't like Contra nearly as much as the debut, and it's probably because singer Ezra Koenig doesn't have jack shit to say. His vacations were all sailboats and lobster and filet mignon, his education Ivy League, and his wealth (likely) trust-funded. And that lifestyle and the carefully chosen keywords peppered throughout the debut was the message itself: "I come from the East Coast and I am here to rock you like something quite less than a hurricane." But that's about the entire depth of Koenig's tale, and any attempt to branch out smells like fake crab meat. Nearly very lyric on Contra is all pretense and almost no meaning. What the fuck is "I think you're a Contra" supposed to mean? We are supposed to receive the sentiment as a mystery, words to be deconstructed, analyzed, eventually understood. I call bullshit. Ezra doesn't even know what the fuck it's supposed to mean. Of course it's soooo cool to be meaningless, but it distracts from an album chock-full of interesting percussion and keyboards (and too few guitars). But, of course, all this would be moot if Ezra dug up as many great melodies as were found on the debut. That's all we really want, if we're honest, and when they aren't there, we start looking at everything else in the room.
Contra is still playing in my car, but with every trip through the album, more and more tracks are being skipped immediately. Oh yeah, and sometimes it just sounds like ska, hahaha. C+/B-