Back in my days of college radio at the early part of the 2000s, there was a group making a buzz throughout the independent and college scene. I was oblivious to a lot of things in those days, Avid Reader, and looking back I wish I paid more attention because I missed a lot of great music. No matter, I’m trying to make up for lost time, and a while back when the latest album by The Walkmen was released I decided to see what the fuss was about.
Right up front: this album could be a missing link from Elvis Costello’s catalog. There are a few times on here where I can swear that Hamilton Leithauser will be telling me his aim is true or asking if anything is funny about peace, love and understanding. However, the difference here is that this record is not trying to be snarky; it is doing a great job at being genuine and heartfelt. I also dig the theme of nostalgia with the photos of the band and their families.
The songs on this album are retrospective in nature and call to mind the times of AM radio yet the lyrical content is a little bit heavier than standard bubblegum pop. After ten years this is a band looking back and reflecting on where the road has taken them. The opening lines of the song are a throwback, too: ‘I was the Duke of Earl’ and it goes on to reminisce of different times. If you don’t get that reference, then just check this clip.
When I pick up an album like this from an established act I am often surprised at what I’ve been missing and then I curse myself for not paying attention sooner. I enjoyed how the album made easy transitions between songs; they weren’t thundering or loud and played to the strengths of the band which to me are the vocals and use of space. At no point was anyone being overpowered and all the pieces were clear to bring about a full sound that sounded warm and easy.
If you need some proof: ‘Love is Luck’, ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘The Love You Love’, ‘We Can’t Be Beat’, ‘No One Ever Sleeps’ and ‘Line by Line’. Something tells me I’ll be checking into their back catalog and you should check into this album if you haven’t already.