The Walkmen

The Walkmen

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With all the attention lavished on one of New York's finest bands, the Strokes, surely this self-titled four-song EP from city-mates the Walkmen deserves a great deal of attention as well. Continuing in the fiery garage rock vein of Jonathan Fire Eater, key members from that band join a new vocalist in creating a jangling, bombastic art rock attack. Like the Strokes, whose Is This It? owes ample debt to Jonathan Fire Eater, the Walkmen seem to emerge from a heavy Velvet Underground slumber. But the Walkmen trudge a darker, more serious path, where influences ranging from U2, Pixies, and Television merge into a fractured, original beast. At 15 minutes in length, the only thing wrong with the The Walkmen is that it ends too soon. U2 comes to mind quite frequently, especially during "We've Been Had" and "The Crimps," but it's the sound of U2 as produced by Joe Meek in a neighbor's basement. Throughout the EP, the Walkmen jingle and shudder like elegantly wasted, plugged-in minstrels detailing city life gone wrong. The band's atmospheric shuffle is missing only the slightest bit of focus. Their moody sound calls only for a more defined lyric sheet or perhaps simply something to rage about. As it stands, they're caught ever so slightly in a crack between cocktail garage and fierce, anthemic rock. There's little doubt that the Walkmen are immensely talented, and this EP would seem to set them on a path toward greatness.

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