The Walkmen is arguably the most perplexing band of New York's early '00s indie-rock class. The promise of its two first records — the messy and magnificent Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone and the more textured and dense Bows + Arrows — has never quite been kept or broken, even when the band assayed a track-by-track revision of Pussy Cats by deconstructive pop hero Harry Nilsson. This year's Lisbon comes close to balancing skittish noise with pop appeal, from the nods to Motown and surf, and one grand, exhilarating rock & roll cry on a song called "Victory." When Hamilton Leithauser summons the full drunken strength of his inner maniac poet and the band rises up from the velvet underground, you can't help but share in the triumph.
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