It only took a glimpse of the cover art for Modern Vampires of The City - a black and white snap of a smoggy day in the Big Apple circa 1966 - to suggest that the preppy Brooklynites had transcended their good weather-blemished roots for something more ominous. Although, despite its visual menace alongside the deranged Eddie Cochran vibe of introductory single 'Diane Young, their third full-length is far from a flash of fang. Instead it's a multi-faceted culmination of all Vampire Weekend's ardent yea-sayers have come to revel in thus far; bouncy, often chipper and acutely intelligent, with enough experimental evolution to incontestably satisfy.

The last of a trilogy does, however, get off to a slightly limp start; 'Obvious Bicycle' is a meandering, gospel-tinged opener with a nagging, end-of-a-carnival vibe. Needless to say, it doesn't exactly entice and would probably have warranted more appreciation if it were buried, rather than held pride of place at the LP's summit. Fortunately, it's a minor blip; the rest provides more than an inkling that their creative side is, on the contrary, in rude health. 'Unbelievers' struts along all springy and Supertramp-ish in sentiment, while the exquisite 'Step' couples eery Elizabethan twinkles with an ear-worming lyrical hook; both sound, in fact, like deeper, new perspectives on previous forays ('Mansard Roof' and 'M79' respectively). Similarly, the 'Cousins'-ish rock 'n' roll of the aforementioned single is certainly the record's most brazen and confrontational outburst - hurtling and surprising with dazzling, curled-lip finesse.

Undoubtedly, maturation is most visible on the intimate, double bass-backed centrepiece 'Hannah Hunt'. "Count the seconds, watch the hours/You and me we've got our own sense of time," Ezra Koenig ponders with faultless elocution; before the panned keys and whining lap steel interrupt. It's effortlessly heart-rending, not least when Koenig's emotive, strained yelp at its climax defies his usually sang-froid and distant approach to storytelling. As a moment, it's an album-defining pinnacle; euphoria never before reached on their earlier efforts. That said, they do continue to plunder increased sonic depth elsewhere; 'Finger Back'(s) feel-good throwaway refrain sounding more robust production-wise, before 'Ya Hey' shows their exceptional knack for being both complicated and frivolous; the 'Für Elise' piano, orchestral swells and slightly ludicrous, R&B-aping sample melding perfectly. Put crassly, it sounds like their future.

Previously written off as stomach-wrenchingly twee, they may be, but this latest instalment holds enough weight to be opinion-altering. Whilst it isn't the sound of a band who have shed their skin or exposed a dark underbelly, Modern Vampires Of The City is perhaps their most accomplished profusion of hooks to date.