Review: “Heaven” by The Walkmen

By BRADEN LAMMERS

Indie rock band The Walkmen have put out seven full-length albums in a decade. While being highly productive in the studio, the albums the group has produced have been hit-or-miss.

And since the group’s 2006 release “A Hundred Miles Off” the albums have fallen more into the miss category.

Record rating: 8.2 of 10

But they’re back to a hit with their 2012 release “Heaven.”

In the band’s 2010 –“Lisbon”– and 2008 –“You & Me”– releases it sounded like they were trying to clean up their manic, sometimes screechy sound and it came off as forced and uninspired.

On “Heaven” the lead track “We Can’t Be Beat” shows they have achieved a balance. The song starts calmly and takes the listener on a a slow harmonizing climb, smoothly into a foot-tapping beat that will get you moving.

Many songs that offer that slow build never provide a cathartic explosion of noise. And throughout the album The Walkmen display a mellower sound, with catchy rhythms and good song structure.

There is still a touch of feverish energy and the occasional howl, evidenced in “Nightingales,” that has been a hallmark of the Walkmen’s sound, but it doesn’t pull you off the rails.

Along with the first single released off of the album, which is the title track, “Love is Luck” and “Heartbreaker” are among the album’s gems.

“The Love You Love” is the track that best captures the old energy displayed on “Bows + Arrows” or “A Hundred Miles Off.” But again it offers a cleaner sound that the band seemed like they were trying to achieve on their last two albums.

Their decision to work with producer Phil Ek, of Fleet Foxes fame, has paid off.

The band has shown glimpses of being capable of producing tremendous music, they just needed to focus their sound. That has happened. Let’s hope they continue on their course.

Record rating: 8.2 of 10

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About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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