The Walkmen - Lisbon
Whereas the New Pornographers, Spoon, and Broken Social Scene all more or less met expectations, the Walkmen rarely fail to exceed them. A bit more stripped down than 'You & Me', my choice for the best album in their catalog, 'Lisbon' finds the Walkmen once again doing what they do best. Lisbon provides a vehicle for Hamilton Leithauser's emotional vocals, Paul Maroon's deliberate guitar, and Matt Barrick's powerful percussion.
Leithauser is able to cut loose in his traditional fashion on the choruses of 'Victory' and 'Angela Surf City', the album's best track, and as good as anything they've done since 'The Rat'. He keeps an even pace on 'Woe is Me' and the opening "Juveniles", a track on which Ham sets the stage by crooning "You're one of us, or one of them". 'Blue as Your Blood' is like a version of 'On the Water' that doesn't reach a crescendo. And like some of the best stuff from their previous albums, Lisbon is littered with gems that require some additional mining, such as 'Torch Song' and the horn backed 'Stranded'.
Five albums in, the Walkmen may not be breaking new ground, but they've found their sound, and they're continually perfecting it. And I should mention, they are, in my opinion, the best touring act in the country. The first and third videos were taken at a show I attended in August (not by me, though. They were filmed by other people).
Angela Surf City