The Walkmen’s sixth album is a record perfectly suited to the revival of the LP format – it oozes a certain kind of nostalgia only intensified by poring over the beautiful photography of its gatefold cover.
I’ve often felt that The Walkmen’s work can be viewed as an oeuvre – the way that they approach albums in a painterly way. Subtle changes are effected, certain elements and textures are retained, others altered, new ones are introduced. In The Walkmen’s oeuvre, this is their “summer album,” inspired by the titular locale, as well as early Elvis and Sun Records material.
Instrumentation on Lisbon is relatively sparse: drums, bass, Maroon’s signature guitar tone, organ, piano, Leithauser’s vocals, and the occasional surprise. Lyrically, Leithauser continues to embody a nearly indescribable, masculine kind of restlessness and existential angst. Through his lens, interpersonal drama is elevated to the level of “tragedy” and you believe him.
In Leithauser’s narratives women have evocative names like Angela, and you instantly know the type of girl to whom he is referring. He earnestly croons lines like “I’d give you all my love / But my heart itself is broken” in the driving “Blue As Your Blood.” Lisbon is a veiled history lesson: before we had emo, we had crooners like this.
Joel Blechinger, Contributor