The Walkmen are known for doing what they want when it
comes to making records, making no compromises. On their new album they
initially suck the listener back through the memory portal to 1987, the title
track pushing hard for Joshua Tree-era U2 and succeeding in spades.
Meanwhile, “We Can’t Be Beat” has a creepy darkness that would fit perfectly in
a movie scene of a lonesome highway as Hamilton Leithauser blends the vocal
styles of Morrissey, Julian Casablancas and John Flansburgh of They Might Be
Giants to great effect. On Heaven they
also embrace Neil Young country rock and the forgotten weirdness of ‘90s bands
like For Squirrels. And the song “Heartbreaker” comes on like a battle of wills
between Band of Horses and Simple Minds.
It’s not a perfect record. At times, it is borderline
schizophrenic in the bouncing around of styles, but still shows a band headed
in the right direction. Heaven isn’t
100% bliss, but the Walkmen have taken themselves and their fans one step
DOWNLOAD: “Heaven,” “We Can’t Be Beat” DANNY R. PHILLIPS