Those searching for evidence that, even in a world shrunk by the internet, culture from across the Atlantic can still seem beguilingly exotic to a British audience, might consider the case of Vampire Weekend. They arrived in 2008, a riot of preppy clothes, neat hair, African-inspired guitars and songs that suggested Ivy League backgrounds: replete with titles like Campus and Diplomat's Son, with lyrical references to punctuation, 17th-century architecture and "good schools and friends with pools". The band have protested about the detrimental effect all this had on the way they were perceived by those who didn't grasp that there was an element of role-playing involved. "People tried to pretend we were rich idiots," singer Ezra Koenig recently complained to the Guardian – although, in Britain at least, as many people seemed enthralled as were enervated: their eponymous debut went platinum, and its followup, Contra, entered the album charts at No 3 (and topped the charts in the US). And if Vampire Weekend are feeling hard done by, they could perhaps consider how the British public might have reacted to an Anglo equivalent of Vampire Weekend: clean-cut Oxbridge graduates resplendent in red corduroy trousers, Boden shirts and half-blue blazers playing world music-inspired songs in which punting and the porter's lodge figured heavily. You do rather imagine said band would be in less urgent need of shelving space for platinum discs than 24-hour police protection, lest the countrywide loathing they inspired turn murderous. But as David Bowie would doubtless tell you, in rock music even the most successful role-playing shtick won't last for ever: you can probably get two albums out of it, then it's time to move on. Which brings us to Modern Vampires of the City, audibly Vampire Weekend's attempt to break free of the style that made them famous. The arch depictions of moneyed young Wasp lives have gone, replaced by something more heartfelt. Heavy with intimations of mortality, the lyrics give the impression that Koenig has run up against a very late-twentysomething brand of angst, involving the creeping awareness that your time on Earth isn't as limitless as it once seemed: the moment you realise, as one line on Don't Lie puts it, that "there's a headstone right in front of you and everyone you know".