Top 18 Albums of 2012: #7 The Walkmen – Heaven

Hey! Look who has a new domain name! is now the official domain of this page and that’s cool (Might take a day or two for the new domain to pop up on some browsers tho :-/). Also, if you’ve been following along with the list, take a second to Follow my blog either through WordPress (top of this page) or by e-mail (bottom of righthand column.) Thanks! Ok, enough babble, here’s today’s album:

It’s hard to believe that The Walkmen have been together for 10 years. It’s even harder to believe that Heaven marks the first time that they’ve brought in a producer to oversee the making of their album. And they didnt just get any producer, they brought in the legendary Phil Ek, who’s produced albums for Built to Spill, Fleet Foxes and The Shins to name a few. The guy’s resume speaks for itself. What ensued, is easily the band’s most mature album. This is a fine production and the essence of a timeless rock band, who are growing up. There’s no better way to understand what “growing up” means for The Walkmen than the video for the album’s title track, ‘Heaven’:

At the front of this band, is Hamilton Leithauser and what a frontman he is. The guy has serious style and stage presence. His bravado commands that you pay attention to him, but the feeling that this band is together as one is never lost. They put on a stellar performance at the Outside Lands Festival this year and there was the tall, slender Leithauser with his skinny black tie on, leading the band as they churned jam after jam off of Heaven an album that boasts so many awesome tracks…I can’t tell you how many times i’ve zoned out, listening to the melancholy ‘We Can’t Be Beat’, it’s one of the most beautiful songs i’ve ever heard.

The epic ‘Nightingales’, shows the expanse of Leithauser’s range above the bass drum kicks and woozy guitar strums, as the carefully placed tambourine clangs in the background. They pick up the energy on ‘The Love You Love’ and even though Heaven represents their most polished and mature work, this is one of the moments when you just wanna jump around, dance and lose control:

“What it is and what it should be! Baby I want everything…What it is and what it should be!”

The Walkmen made all the right moves on this album. None were bigger than bringing in Phil Ek to re-invent, but ultimately define the style that has carried this awesome band for a decade.


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