The Walkmen: Lisbon
The Walkmen return with their sixth studio album, inspired by two trips to the Portuguese capital. The eleven songs here are confidently, intricately constructed miniatures of life, love and loss felt on a grand and sweeping scale, deftly nostalgic rather than knowingly quaint. There’s a clean and buttoned-up feel to much of Lisbon, all neat backbeat, coruscating strings, and fluidly simple arrangements reminiscent of early Sun records, while elsewhere it revs into drum-driven overdrive or dips into orchestral plunges with a flash of gleaming brass. Hamilton Leithauser’s throatily plaintive vocals dilute the surges of surf-rock, while the lyrics, reaching their summit in ‘Stranded’, conjure up images of isolation, empty streets and endless rain against a windowpane. Beside the straightforward retro-rush of ‘Angela Surf City’, ‘Blue as Your Blood’ races like a nervous pulse and ‘Victory’ sways with punchdrunk triumph before the title track brings down the curtain in epic, elegiac style.
Written for Fashion Music Style – issue #7 out now