The Walkmen – Heaven (Fat Possum Records)


Heaven

(This mini-review originally appeared at www.spectrumcluture.com)

Whether or not it was intended that way, Heaven feels like the culmination of the Walkmen‘s first decade as a band. The NYC quintet have evolved over that time, but it’s been more of a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of evolution, which tells me they’re in it for the long haul and not simply bandwagoning for cash. On Heaven, they continue to explore the songwriting maturation that began with 2010’s Lisbon – a maturity that can only come from experience and confidence in your abilities. Singer Hamilton Leithauser’s vocal skills have increased with each successive release, and his performances on Heaven (on the back-to-back duo of “Southern Heart” and “Line By Line,” in particular) are as affecting as anything else out there right now. If you miss the wild mercury sound of the band’s younger days as heard on “We’ve Been Had” and “The Rat,” well, those days are probably gone for good. However, “Heartbreaker” and the tremolo-laden title track are equally suitable for modern rock radio, but with a tasteful restraint that makes them more powerful, if less immediate. Where The Walkmen go from here is anyone’s guess, but if they can continue the upward trajectory of the past 10 years, we’re in for a real treat.

Tracklisting:

  • We Can’t Be Beat – 4:43
  • Love Is Luck – 3:26
  • Heartbreaker – 3:15
  • The Witch – 3:33
  • Southern Heart – 3:01
  • Line by Line – 5:05
  • Song for Leigh – 3:38
  • Nightingales – 4:03
  • Jerry Jr.’s Tune – 1:33
  • The Love You Love – 3:07
  • Heaven – 4:26
  • No One Ever Sleeps – 2:42
  • Dreamboat – 4:35