The idea that The Walkmen are “maturing” or “have matured” is one that rears its ugly head every time they release something new. It’s an idea I’ve always had a problem with for a few seemingly obvious reasons – the toy pianos that populated so many of their early songs, the horn sections that’ve graced the past few records, and the perpetually close ratio of ballads/rockers all point to a band that has been “mature” for years. “The Rat”, a song from their second album, was, at least partially, about how the narrator was past going out to the old familiar haunts in favor of either flying solo or staying home altogether. The band has always mixed a distinctly urban brashness with a sage-like presence that few of their peers can match. Regardless, there always seem to be a large number of bloggers/writers who seem to either forget these facts or disregard them entirely. With the much-anticipated Heaven dropping in a few weeks those voices are surfacing yet again. Yes, the family-oriented promo shots might suggest some sort of surfacing contentedness or domesticity in the tunes, but I see The Walkmen as a band that has been getting better and better at integrating those earlier mentioned attributes for a long time now. They’ve been producing habitually great records for so long now that they just have to be in the conversation of the best bands of the past decade. The soaring title track, the latest in a long-line of drop-dead killer first singles, is their most streamlined indie-rock song yet. Never at a loss for anthems, “Heaven” is the type of song that could easily catapult The Walkmen to the (very much deserved) next level occupied by bands like Arcade Fire and The Black Keys. “Our crooked dreams will always glow”, indeed.
I’m a little late on this one, as there’s now another sneak peak here.