When they broke out in early 2008 with their self-titled debut, Vampire Weekend‘s champions and critics made essentially the same claims about the band. Detractors accused the band of stealing elements of world music, while fans heralded them as the heirs to Graceland-era Paul Simon (who faced similar accusations). Perhaps that made frontman Ezra Koenig an obvious choice to take on Paul Simon’s “Papa Hobo” for the soundtrack to the upcoming movie Ceremony, but the track is actually a bit of a departure from the typical Simon influence in Vampire Weekend’s music.
As can perhaps be expected from the title, “Papa Hobo” is a folksy acoustic tune infused with some twangy Americana. Koenig changes little in his approach, save for a slight departure on the song’s rhythm that sounds a bit more Nick Drake than it does Woody Guthrie. While it’s certainly not a revamping of the original, “Papa Hobo” is a nice, laid-back addition to the Vampire Weekend (and friends) repertoire.