The Walkmen
Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone

/star time; 2002/

rating : 8.5 



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First things first: the album cover is great. The Walkmen come from New York City, they're the Phoenix rising from Jonathan Fire*Eater's ashes and you can't really hear it in this lp.
The album opener, "They're Winning," should have been longer. Two songs on this lp were also on their self-titled ep released in 2001, "Wake Up" and "We've Been Had," both brilliant. The best song on the album is the title track, featuring a hysterical drum beat and a new wave sound. Unlike other brilliant nyc bands, The Walkmen will probably never be successful. They seem to be too busy playing with their music, adding haunting piano parts (Stop Talking) and unsettling drum fills (Roll Down the Line). What makes this album better than most of the stuff labelled as "experimental" nowadays is the great songs that hide beneath the complex arrangements. We sometimes wonder if Hamilton Leithauser's (vocals & guitar) goal is to succeed in singing on music you can't sing to (The Blizzard of '96). The songs are sometimes slow and ethereal, sometimes a little more upbeat. The Walkmen sound like the result of a car crash involving early U2, a cabaret piano from the 20s and an impressive drummer. Their debut album is unsettling in a good way and slowly reveals its secrets, listening after listening. Brilliant.

-Barbara H.