The Walkmen - Lisbon
Tom Reed 13/09/2010
Since their breakout 2004 album Bows & Arrows, with its classic singles 'The Rat' and 'Little House Of Savages', The Walkmen have been a pretty staunch 'album' band. Last album You & Me had very few tunes that stood out as singles, but instead saw the band craft a record more musically settled than their early work. The album showed a leap in maturity and songwriting that saw The Walkmen have their name mentioned as filling a gap left by disappointing recent work from bands like Interpol and The Strokes.
In comparison with You & Me, new album Lisbon continues in this same vein, albeit with a noticeable increase in energy and power on tracks like 'Angela Surf City' and 'Woe Is Me'. But married to this are a fine selection of laid back tunes, many of which are augmented by some gorgeous horn arrangements. 'Stranded' in particular is a standout, with one of frontman Hamilton Leithauser's strongest vocal performances to date.
'Juveniles' opens the record with a jaunty guitar riff and a upbeat lyric from Leithauser - “I am a good man/by any count/And I see better things to come". One of the most impressive things about the record is the band maintain this optimism throughout the record, in terms of the lyrical content and the less world-weary feel of the music. 'Victory' is a great example of this - the band pummel away at their instruments, creating a celebratory, raucous noise in the chorus as Leithauser screams "Victory should be mine" at the top of his lungs.
This really is a fine record, and will likely make a lot of indie fan's album of the year lists, but whether it is likely to expand The Walkmen's fanbase is somewhat unlikely. Not necessarily a bad thing, but these are songs that deserve to be heard by a wider audience.
Release date: Out now