ALBUM REVIEW (written for some magazine)
As it is the overly-obvious comparison which will surely plague California's Princeton, and because I wish to maintain some journalistic integrity, I endeavour to complete my review of their debut record 'Cocoon of Love' without once mentioning a young group of well-doers who call themselves Vampire Weekend.
Such a challenge is quite clearly testing, if not impossible. Any band who arrive with an original scope - and succeed - plow the way for a plethora of admirers, highly inspired by their new musical bastion. Princeton share the same age, gender, class, intelligence, level of education and influences (as well as the key to the same orchestra's cupboard) as Koenig and friends. And their name, although a reference to their home street and not a pretentious scholarly nod, kind of gives the game away.
And first impressions are everything. If that opening line of the Bible didn't do well enough to set the scene for the unashamedly epic and extravagent series of affairs which followed, then nothing could. And so when 'Sadie and Andy' opens with a stately harpsichord which can't help but bring 'M79' to mind, and then the first vocals we hear steals melody from The Four Seasons' 'Sherry', a certain level of expectation is founded. The truth is that there isn't a shedload of originality here. A better writer might avoid namechecking other bands for comparison, but a better band would obscure their influences better. Princeton have essentially compiled a mixtape of their favourite songs, featuring prime selections from the likes of Andrew Bird, Jens Lekman, Beirut, Camera Obscura and Guillemots.
Despite such criticisms, or probably because of them, this is an adventurous album; remarkably accomplished coffee table music with the tonality of the morning's small hours, but the sound of the summer. And in 'Calypso Gold' they distill everything wonderful about themselves with a whole load of panache and potential, implanting great anticipation for the days when they graduate and get their own place.