The Walkmen, Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone

Yancey Strickler

By Yancey Strickler

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone

The Walkmen
Former New York It Band picks up the pieces and moves on.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously said that "there are no second acts in American life." But New York isn't America and Walkmen singer Hamilton Leithauser isn't Jay Gatsby, though they share a certain provincial streak. Three members of the Walkmen were once in Jonathan Fire*Eater, a New York It Band that crashed before they even took off. That prior failure weighs on the Walkmen, who sound more mature and business-like than any of their contemporaries. "This'll all go away in a second, buddy," they seem to say. Their music is soft and incredibly kinetic, the omnipresent keyboards buzzing like Magic Fingers and drummer Matt Barrick riding his open hi-hat like it was the last lifeboat on the Titanic. There are four absolute musts on this disc: "Wake Up" ("Taps" for twentysomethings), "The Blizzard of '96" (wind chime-rock), "We've Been Had" (epic/awesome/killer/amazing — take your pick) and the title track (modern R&B vocals, rhythm section cold-rockin 'it).