The Walkmen – Lisbon

With Lisbon US band The Walkmen have delivered a perfect follow up to their last album You and Me, which topped our Top Ten Albums list for 2008. Retaining You and Me’s stripped back, timeless production with nods to the 50s and 60s, Lisbon has plenty more goose bump moments and once again offers a perfect showcase for lead singer Hamilton Leithhauser’s stunning rock vocals as well as the band’s love of vintage instruments.

There’s even more of an epic feel at times on Lisbon than You and Me, with the slowed down, mariachi feel of ‘Stranded’ showing a band that is maturing nicely.

Before You and Me the band were perhaps best known for the single The Rat, a rollercoaster of indie rock with no let up. The consistency of You and Me changed them into far more of an album band. Lisbon also has not one single duffer across its 11 tracks. It also has a couple of new rivals to The Rat, as well as You and Me’s standout In the New Year. Lisbon’s ‘Angela Surf City’, with its powerful build up is easily a match, as is the anthemic ‘Victory’. Both are sure to be new crowd favourites.

There’s a nice arc to the album as well, Juveniles being the scene setter, with its passionate vocals and vintage guitar twangs. High quality indie rock takes over on ‘Angela Surf City’ and ‘Victory’ and then for the final few tracks the pace slows down until the title track rounds things off . Among these final tracks ‘While I Shovel the Snow’ is the most meloncholy.

The consistency and sense of emotion conveyed on Lisbon have prompted another high score from us and I’d be surprised if Lisbon doesn’t make not just ours but many other best albums of  year lists come December.


by Joe Lepper


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