FRIDAY, JUNE 01, 2012|
Posted by: Zoe Marquedant
The Walkmen's Heaven starts off on an unusually soft note. Their starting track, "We Can't Be Beat," consists mostly of acoustic guitar, triangle and a touch of backing vocals. It's a far cry from their past more rollicking songs, like "The Rat" off of Bows + Arrows. The calm of "We Can't Be Beat" crescendos as instruments and voices are delicately added on, transforming the song into more of a mantra than an opening note. By beginning on this footing, The Walkmen set up Heaven as their most tranquil and grown-up sounding album yet.
The softness adds a maturity to their track record that has been noticeably present in their more recent albums. Songs like "Southern Heart" and "Jerry Jr.s Tune" are both softer spots in which Hamilton Leithauser really gets the chance to show off his vocals. Without the strength of Leithauser's voice these tracks would have brought the record to a screeching halt. However, the musicianship makes up for the pace.
Still Heaven isn't all slow songs. "Nightingales" comes across as a more upbeat version of "We Cant Be Beat" with the addition of electric guitar and drums. The two songs share similar lyrics and melodies, which rather than seeming repetitive create an element of continuity in the album.
Overall it is a pretty docile album. The Walkmen seemed to have stepped back and really taken the time to develop a distinct sound, which can be pick out in each individual track. Each song belongs on the album and contributes to the overall optimistic feel.