Contra didn't have the hype that their self-titled debut had, but it was the first major indie release of 2010. The VW boys created their own buzz with that bizarre album cover (pictured; she's now suing the band), and releasing a music video that starred Jake Gyllenhaal and a Jonas brother for the [mediocre] track "Giving Up the Gun."
VW tried to go in a slightly different direction on Contra by infusing more electronica (mostly through beats and synth) and it worked at some points ("Run," "Diplomat's Son") and failed at others, most notably on "California English" (when will autotune die?!!). The more prolific use of synthetic sounds didn't necessarily surprise me since VW's lead singer collaborated with Ra Ra Riot's lead singer to put out an entirely electronic album under the moniker Discovery (this track still blows my mind, and The Hood Internet felt the same way).
For my money, the album's best track is the one that sounds most similar to VW's debut: "Cousins":
Blurb: Contra isn't necessarily a "sophomore slump" album, but I don't think it's better than their self-titled debut.