All 2 entries tagged The Walkmen

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May 01, 2007

Actually found on film

Writing about web page

It’s amazing what you find on soundtracks.

Look a bit closely at the Spiderman 3 soundtrack past the obvious Snow Patrol lead single and The Killers leftovers (and the trash from Jet) and you find two new efforts from The Walkmen, and Rogue Wave. On a CD boasting so many original songs (and a few good ‘uns as well), it just seems weird to see ‘Spiderman 3’ on the front of it.

The Walkmen track, Red River, doesn’t hold any new ground, but it has them finding their footing again after some of the relative missteps in last (proper) album A Hundred Miles Off. It mixes the relaxing groove of Louisiana with the explosions of Danny’s At The Wedding without veering off to the unlistenable territory of All Hands and the Cook. I was really at odds with the last record, skipping a fair few of the tracks, like I’m wont to do with Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me…, as if they’ve regressed back to going for some avant-garde style over substance (does anybody play Roll Down The Line?). Some of the tracks have grown on me, but even lead singer, Hamilton has admitted to being a bit lax with song selection in a recent interview. Hopefully it points signs to decent new album.

The Rogue Wave song, Sight Lines, is much more pleasant. Zach Rogue might resemble James Mercer with a stranger accent (with the same amount of reverb, naturally), but he restrains the calculation of his words and gives the song a bit more breathing space than a Shins song generally allows. The instrumentation is looser, as the bright chorus that breaks out between the verses lets drums, slide guitar and piano all tumble over each other. Unfortunately it doesn’t build much further, but the journey is a better experience. If you haven’t picked up Descended Like Vultures, you should.

Then again, these bands would never give their best tracks away to a soundtrack, regardless of the film. Right?

The Walkmen – Red River
Rogue Wave – Sight Lines
[Listen to and buy the whole album here]

March 02, 2007

Let You In

The Walkmen

So, I’ve come back off an amazing holiday in the South Island of New Zealand. During the travels, my iPod managed to break itself (seriously, I took it out of my pocket and there’s a big hole in the screen) in Christchurch so I’m mourning it’s loss and now having to use my phone as a rather tentative mp3 player. This means I’ve gotta choose an optimum playlist of songs that I could listen to on repeat or have done and will do. On doing this, I found a lot of brilliant tracks not found on albums or by bands who just aren’t recognised.

The Recoys were a New York band that split to join members of Jonathan FireEater and eventually become the powerhouse known as The Walkmen. They’re a lot less known than JFE (although to be honest, I barely know either) but after hearing this song, I was sold instantly on the Recoys.

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s just explodes out of the blocks from the get-go and doesn’t let up for the whole song or maybe the cute little ooh-ohh backing vocals, the whole overdriven lead guitar sound that’s so lo-fi it hurts (in a good way) or just the way Hamilton Leithauser delivers the lines ’...the cocktails made me a little forgetful… Oh!’.

The Recoys – Let You In MP3 Expired
[buy The Rekoys LP+3 here]

The whole reason I delved into The Recoys was because the Walkmen have an uncanny knack for writing simple but off-kilter pop tunes that throw you from their usual output. We’ve Been Had kicks off with a piano line that calls your favourite ice cream van down the street and stays for the duration, washing layers of keys over you until the van toddles off around the block, and Hamilton croons ‘sometimes I’m just happy I’m older’. A guitar joins in late at the party trying to make as much racket as possible before the song fades and you sigh in contentedness like when you’ve just bought a big whipped cream cone…

Sometimes I’m just happy listening to these songs.

The Walkmen – We’ve Been Had MP3 Expired
[buy Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone]

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