Album Review: The Walkmen - Heaven

4 June 2012 | 7:48 pm | Bradley Armstrong

It feels like an album that will appreciate with time and adaptations on the live stage...

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Heaven is the seventh full-length outing by American indie rock five-piece The Walkmen. Already heralded as the group's best work to date, the album tests that boundary consistently throughout.

The album opens with the lullaby-like We Can't Beat, which soon transforms into indie folk mecca with thumping drums and soaring harmonies, aided by Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold, who guests on …Beat and several other tracks, mainly as an added harmony. However, Pecknold takes a more prominent role on the Cold War Kids-esque No One Ever Sleeps.

Line By Line sees quickly picked guitars ranging from melancholy to upbeat Simon & Garfunkel folk before erupting with quiet strings and strong harmonies. For a track that is solely guitar and vocals, it feels as powerful as it sounds. Follower, Song For Leigh, continues this feel with a full band and a strong vocal performance that flirts with pop both musically and lyrically. The album at times does feel a little long, with the folk card being a common ground for Heaven. Other tracks, like the quickened indie hyper-boil of The Love You Love, are fun to listen to but feel too similar to some of the band's older material, the lyrics from 2010 single, Angela Surf City, almost fitting perfectly over the top.

The album fills out most faults with signs of strength, with the cleverness of Dreamboat and the solo acoustic, reverb-laced charm of the aptly-titled Southern Heart really driving Heaven. It feels like an album that will appreciate with time and adaptations on the live stage, so the proclamation of this as band's best work feels a tad premature at this stage.

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