The Walkmen – Heaven (Fat Possum)
LP / CD / DL
Out 29 May 2012

Indie rockers The Walkmen play to their strengths with their seventh studio album, a collection of relaxed, ambient numbers exuding a folksy rustic appeal.

What lyrical content might you expect from a disc titled Heaven? If it sits somewhere between ballads of love, regret or even nostalgia, then you might well agree that the title of The Walkmen’s seventh studio album, Heaven, is extraordinarily fitting. With swirling guitars, warm vocals and ambient sounds at every turn, Heaven is absolutely angelic. It is an incredibly crafted, standout record for the New York based indie rockers.

Highlights of the record are plentiful. From the first track, “We Can’t Be Beat” to the second, “Love is Luck,” the Walkmen’s clear grasp on vintage sounds and high caliber songwriting are well communicated. “Heartbreaker,” which finds common ground with Funeral-era Arcade Fire, The Velvet Underground, and a relaxed, West Coast mentality, is sonically complex and incredibly catchy. There’s also “No One Ever Sleeps,” a lullaby on acid, “The Love You Love,” which finds the nexus of New Wave and contemporary indie rock, and the charming folksy number, “Song for Leigh.” Not to be overlooked is “Line By Line,” which sounds like a song in comatose. It’s swirly and metaphysical, and absolutely beautiful.

From beginning to end, Heaven invites the listener into a world constructed for and by The Walkmen. Never once afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve, the album deals with a plethora of themes that include joy, melancholy, memory and honesty. Heaven glides and meanders. It buzzes with its own type of rustic, sentimental appeal and always feels entirely organic.

If you’re looking for heavy, up-tempo music, you won’t find it here. The tracks on Heaven are best fit for a campfire in the country, or on a whiskey-stained front porch in the summertime. This is mature, often meditative music that translates the meticulous attention that undoubtedly took place in the recording studio. Though the album’s lofty title conjures imagines of a divine, otherworldly locale, the record stands up to the challenge. The Walkmen surely know their strong suits, and Heaven assesses them seamlessly.

All words by Maren McGlashan. You can read more from Maren here.

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