Immediately noticeable on the Walkmen’s second release is the warmth of sound. While not completely shaken, the stark landscape of their debut has been replaced by something rich and inviting. This aural coziness goes hand in hand with snow and confetti falling outside of Brooklyn tenement buildings, an image the album tries hard to invoke.
The leadoff single “The Rat” stands out in the group’s repertoire, rejecting their typically muzzled production in favor of a clean, biting arrangement. It opens with a piercing Wurlitzer note accompanied by rigid guitar work, quickly broken apart with driving percussion and the unusually direct vocal refrain of “You’ve got a nerve to be asking for favors.”
Another treat is the densely packed “Thinking of a Dream I Had,” a dark Christmas carol that showcases their commitment to the sleigh bell as the tambourine of the new millennium. It works well here, nestling snuggly into galloping drums and reverberation-drenched organ. I can imagine popping this on the four-track of my sled while taking the missis dashing through the snow all hopped up on Robitussin.
One peculiar aspect of the album is its odd sequencing. Without fail a peppy number is followed by something slow and solemn. What gives? Sirs, if you want me to bust a move or slit my wrists you have to give me a chance. My only other real gripe rests with the lyrics. I would advise every New York-bred band to venture out for a fortnight and see the world. It’s super rad waiting for subways, but there are tons of other things you can wait for… pizzas for instance. Other than these petty concerns, the album is a hit, more than delivering on the promise of the band’s much-hyped freshman appearance.
[Shade Remelin and Tarkan know this much to be true: “Ooo o da biliyor/ Ooo o da seviyor.”]