HEAVEN is the Walkmen's followup to 2010's fantastic Lisbon (Amazon MP3 Exclusive). The band's newest effort continues the trend of "back-to-basics" style of music. The Walkmen feel more comfortable and content here than they ever have before, leading to often good results. The best way to describe this album is "Comfortable." HEAVEN feels live-in and familiar -- many of the songs just feel right.
There's a good deal of range here, from the stomping rock-n-roll "Love is Luck" to the spare crooning of "Line by Line" to the lullaby instrumental of "Jerry Jr's Tune". Unfortunately, much of the nervous energy that the Walkmen had feels lost. This has been replaced by a warmth and confidence that seems to guide them now. The album is passionate, but never offensive; familiar, but never boring.
Overall, HEAVEN is another great release from the Walkmen, adding to their pretty consistent and reliable discography. Listeners can expect to find this album in many critics' Top 10 of 2012 lists. Fans of the Hold Steady, the National, or any assortment of Brooklyn-based indie-rock bands will probably find a lot to like here. Recommended sampling: "Love is Luck," "The Witch," "Heartbreaker," and "Dreamboat."