They're a solid band but have their limitations. Just how far the band has come since the days is reinforced throughout the album, from the pictures of the bandmembers with their families to 's clean but unobtrusive production. I read another users comments about this band before, which I have to agree with - The Walkmen are never bad but they rarely catch fire either. The album was produced by and featured contributions from ' and and '. The brooding, boozy lows as well as the ecstatic, flailing highs will be familiar to anyone who has plugged into the Walkmen before, and this can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.
However high or low a certain decimal point is determines how many zeroes I will be making in two years time. For that their sound is mighty atmospheric given that the band works with largely typical indie-rock tools—namely squirrelly guitars, antique keyboards and pulsating drum work. Heaven is going to be the record that finally places them in my personal rotation. Its difficult to reconcile this insecurity with the albums subtleties specific to self-assured musicianship, like the violins that swim to the surface only during the last 30 seconds of Line By Line or the background barbershop quartet oohs on No One Ever Sleeps. Whether addressing his partner or his muse, these empty threats and pleas will undoubtedly be familiar to anyone whos struggled with a loved one.
On May 20, 2012, the album was streamed in its entirety on. Theyve already gone through their life phases, like my mom music shame, and are settling down with their wives and children into a multifaceted album that can grow old along with them. In fact, it sounds like the sort of thing your grandpa might say. Riding in the car with my mom one day, I put on Louisiana, trying to convince her with, These guys sound like Bob Dylan! This feeling of homecoming is all the more striking compared to 's previous album, the woozy travelogue. But for a selfish fan, that's not such a band thing. Similarly, it's just as difficult to write songs about contentment that aren't boring, or worse, smug.
So much style and lots of substance to go with it but just that little bit short of greatness. He might be the king, but of what? Much of Heaven revolves around this lyrical back-and-forth, consisting of a possibly hypocritical Leithauser making statements and disavowing them almost as quickly, trying to legitimize compromises hes madelike not being able to take his one-year-old on tour because she wakes up at six a. By the time I got to Woe Is Me, steeped in the same Phil Spectorisms that suffuse the rest of , I realized that even if their songs sound the same, Im with the band. It's still not a bad record but not magic either. There are a few things that set them apart, and one of the major things being lead vocalist Hamilton Leithauser's very distinctive voice. I think Heaven is the best. Yes, the songs seem crisper, cleaner, and simpler than what's come before, but the songs are absolutely full of idiosyncrasies that pop out on subsequent listens.
Ten years ago, the Walkmen were a magnetic, messy young rock band, and they did all the things we expect young rock bands to do: swung in unexpectedly on friends, drunk-dialed exes, pleaded pathetically that things would get better with zero evidence that they would. You can't say this band isn't continuing to evolve. The Walkmen have always been at their best when they were playing and screaming as loud as they can, and this album has a few songs that show that. It was around the time in my life when I was increasingly embarrassed about listening to her Bonnie Raitt discography and The Big Easy soundtrack, but I still needed her validation before forming my own opinions. That many of these more hushed songs are grouped together in the album's middle lends a somewhat uneven feel that is especially jarring when the band returns to poppier territory.
This is a beautiful album, right in time for the longer, warmer, evenings. For all the flawless, diverse execution, however, self-doubt lingers; perhaps because producer Phil Ek whittled down the bands original 30-some songs to the albums 13, while Leithauser he shouldnt always have done stuff we were told we needed to do. The lyrics Hamilton Leithauser howls are mostly unrhymed and evocative and his words rely on the tenor of the attendant guitar splashes for their effect. Unfortunately it doesn't quite live up to my I really liked their previous record Lisbon and was quite excited about this release. With an impressive back-catalogue and metronomic consistency another album from The Walkmen meeting mild critical acclaim was one of the surest bets of the year. Like with other more recent Walkmen albums, guitarist Paul Maroon wrote song outlines for the rest of the band to fill in the parts and lyrics.
However, he's done one better: he's found a way to still be himself without a lot of his former affectations. Particularly the bad things, since happiness does not need to be transformed: happiness is its own end. But even if it's not the band's most cohesive work, comes across as a more or less triumphant culmination of 's first decade, and the fact that happiness fits the band better than anyone could have expected is just a welcome bonus. Songs like The Love You Love and Heartbreaker drew me in initially because they reminded me of previous Walkmen songs. It may have been The Rat, but some things never change, and I still like to think that the privilege of my opinion wouldnt rest on something so obvious. Over time, Hamilton's voice has changed from an extremely raspy and unpredictable yell, to a more controlled, still raspy, croon which team up so well with the re-verb guitars in this album. That happiness does not invite exploration because it does not need to be explained.
for a career in music thats always been a struggle. Thus has it been with the captivating trajectory and evolution of The Walkmen. Similarly, it's just as difficult to write songs about contentment that aren't boring, or worse, smug. Its a far cry from Little House of Savages when Leithauser screamed with what was then youthful conviction, Somebodys waiting for me at home! To put a fine point on it, he literally doesnt last the length of the words because he runs out of gas. When I first heard rumblings that this record was simpler and more mellow than previous albums, I was afraid the band would follow in the footsteps of Kings of Leon and, dare I say it, The Black Keys- with albums that are immediately catchy, yet somewhat watered down, making them more accessible to the masses, but less memorable in the long run. Most likely, its because like any middle-aged examination of middle age, Heaven is a self-conscious album. The Walkmen have become better as they mature, not running out of ideas and not afraid to try out a few new things.
It is ten years since The Walkmen's first record Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone, and their newest seventh release feels like something of an elegant coda to work they started all those years ago. Theres an instrumental blues noodle Jerry Jr. And once we got to Emma, Get Me A Lemon, she said all their songs sounded the same. The album was officially released in the United States on August 19, 2008. It is a distinctly un-rock'n'roll sentiment.