Firefly Firefly Music Festival has announced its full lineup for 2013. Red…
- Posted on Oct 18th 2010 11:30AM by Jonathan Dekel
Six years and three albums later, the band that was once thought of as the thinking-man's Strokes find themselves wading in a sea of more successful sonic brethren. As the band veered away from structured, approachable songs, groups like the Arcade Fire and the National produced clearer, more succinct albums that touched on the same lyrical and musical indicators, with considerably more success.
"Clearly [our musical style] has not worked as well for us as it's worked for some people," lead singer Hamilton Leithauser tells Spinner. "At festivals, we're usually playing at 12:30 AM and they're playing at 9 PM. I guarantee you that'd be the same anywhere in the world -- maybe we'd get bumped up to 1:30 PM in New York."
Perhaps in response to that pressure, the group has turned in one of their most accessible albums to date. Matching slow, thoughtful eulogies with catchy, radio-friendly (for them) numbers like the infectious 'Angela Surf City,' 'Lisbon' has emerged as the group's most focused and succinct effort in years.
"I think we were interested in simplifying things this time," guitarist Paul Maroon concedes. "Weirdly, I think a lot of the songs have choruses on this record, which I don't think they do on the last one."
Aiming to distance themselves from the heavy instrumentation and looser song structure of 2008's 'You & Me,' the group set out to capture the pared down sound of Sun studios recordings from the 1950s. Though they soon scrapped that concept in favour of a more European-inspired laidback attitude, the album's tight production and length still reflect its initial aspiration while managing to simultaneously take inspiration from the city that shares both the album's title and its closing number.
"Something about that place and our shared experience there related to the songs," Maroon says of the Portuguese capital. "It seemed to fit the mood of the songs. This is our sun and fun record."
"It's an interesting city," Leithauser adds. "The architecture was interesting, the people were interesting and it seemed kind of removed from a lot of places we've been."
Which, in a sense, makes it the perfect city parallel to the Walkmen; popular enough to be mentioned alongside Paris or London, but removed enough to not lose the things that made it so special in the first place.