Lisbon - The Walkmen
Lisbon Image

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 31 Ratings

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  • Summary: The longtime New York indie band returns with another album of garage-rock and experimental instrumentation with its album, Lisbon.
  • Record Label: Fat Possum
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Lisbon is like a treatise on the untapped power of the have-nots, delivered by the kind of people who could turn a raw potato, a cup of water, and a pinch of salt into a five-star dish.
  2. Lisbon is an album from a band finally using the full palette of their talents to adapt and come out the better for it, and that's a pretty picture to behold indeed.
  3. It's true the band has made a radical decision to turn down the volume on the wall of sound they've been building up since their debut, but in doing so they've turned up something else they've been fond of for so long: measured nuance.
  4. Lisbon is the New York quintet's sixth album, and it hinges on a precision that wasn't there previously.
  5. Lisbon, like the rest of their music, is meant to be savored, the fullness of its songs allowed to develop over many listens.
  6. 80
    Lisbon, solemn overall, plays like a jukebox at closing time, wrung out but ready for a new day. 
  7. Sometimes the Walkmen's anthemic naturalism wanders without much direction.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Oct 30, 2010
    These guys have quietly been one of the greatest bands in indie rock since their debut album "Everyone Who Pretended to Like me is Gone". They aren't hip and don't follow trends. No one else is combining a slow hazy 50s-60s motown vibe with biting guitar hooks, brooding bass lines, and howling vocals. They aren't afraid to let loose, which is rare for indie rock bands these days it seems. An essential band. Go see them live if you get a chance. Expand
  2. Oct 9, 2013
    This record was a grower initial disappointment from my #1 band grew quickly into the adoration that I feel for every record they've made since their uneven, plinky-plonky debut. Still not sure what the hell "Follow The Leader" is supposed to be, but aside from that one mis-step, the record is as good as anything in their catalogue. Expand
  3. Sep 15, 2010
    I thought The National had album of the year in the bag with 'High Violet', but I couldn't have been more wrong.

    The Walkmen have taken a
    more subtle and precise approach with 'Lisbon' than their previous efforts. I can just picture them in some dim lit warehouse somewhere like mad scientists determining which note goes where and with what instrument and how loud to make each note and so on and so forth. It may not seem like that at first listen, but with repeated listens you will soon find out how much time and effort they put into 'Lisbon'. It's their most simplistic yet complex album yet. It's a well rounded mix of all the greatness of their previous albums but it doesn't feel old at all. It's as though they've figured out a way of making all their strengths feel new and refreshed.

    From the ballad and first single "Stranded" which sounds like an album highlight from '100 miles off' to the intrepid title track, "Lisbon", that could have been 'Everybody who Pretended to like me is gone's' most idealistic single, the Walkmen dazzle in every way. The opener "Juveniles" is a perfect start to 'Lisbon'. It's slow and bending lyrics sound as though they are about to embark on a journey and they want you to sit back, drink your whiskey, open your mind and let your thoughts flow. As the end of the song echoes, "you're one of us or you're one of them", you will start to question which one you are as you anxiously await the ride to continue.

    There are a few faster paced songs on the album like "Angela Surf City", which will probably be the biggest single on the album just because it's more of the sound the Walkmen are popular for. "Victory" and "Woe is Me" are great emotionally charged high velocity tempo storms that crash you with promise and misery all in a matter of minutes. Other than these three songs the rest of the album sits in the bondage of haste and perseverance.

    The only setback on the album is "Follow the Leader". I only say it's a setback because it seems unfinished to me. It has perfect rhythm and smooth lyrics but just didn't seem complete and it kind of halted the album with two very strong tracks before it. On the other hand, I see why its on the album. It builds up to the highlight, "Blue as your Blood". "Blue as your Blood" is the Walkmen's best song to date. As Hamilton croons "Life rolled us over like a town car/Bruised up and busted to the ground", you can feel the sentimentality in his voice. It should be the anthem for every love story, every severed relationship, every guy/girl sitting at a bar thinking about the years past, drinking their favorite drink contemplating every decision, good and bad, they've made over the span of their life. Yes, it's that good.

    "While I shovel the snow" reminds me of my childhood in Chicago, thinking of times past and what's transpired since. It brought back memories I forgot I had. It's simplicity and candid emotion will bring tears to your eyes and happiness to your soul. The lines "half of my life I've been watching/half of my life I've been waking up" will make you want to go back to that childhood and slap yourself in the face, tell yourself to do something with your wretched painful life ahead. "Torch Song" and "All the Great Designs" are standouts as well. They keep the album moving at a soul binding pace. As the album digs at your every thought and bulletproof emotion, not stopping until the end of the title track, "Lisbon", hits you and makes you crave a cigar and another drink to flourish what just transpired. But you cant go on this ride just once. It's like your 12 again at six flags on a Tuesday during the summer when there are no lines...just you and the rollercoaster and you keep riding it over and over again...feeling the pain and nauseau of the rollercoaster's jolt but loving every minute of it. You hunger and crave for more. The only thing that's missing from this album is taste and scent, but if you delve hard and long enough you swear you can smell that old after shave lotion your father use to wear or taste those homemade mash potatoes your mom use to make because memories is what this album is about.

    Metronomes aren't needed because 'Lisbon' doesn't follow any sort of compliance or standard, it's original and that's something you cant say much anymore about music today. 'Lisbon' brings emotion, it brings character and most of all it brings memories for The Walkmen stand in the likes of none of their peers because their greatness cannot be compared.
  4. Nov 3, 2010
    Brilliant, the guitar and bass have found a comfortable setting on this album and are reliable throughout. Matt Barrick's drumming is inventive yet fitting as always, but its Hamilton Leithauser who really guides this album. His vocals are much more refined than in previous albums, and he holds a charm that is hard to describe. The songs that are lacking in other areas are always memorable for his voice and lyrics.
    'Woe is Me' is a great song, but the star of the show is definately the perfectly paced 'Blue as Your Blood', which bursts into the chorus in the conclusive yet confused way the Walkmen have always put songs together, and with such power. While the verses beforehand are subdued and gorgeous in detail and vocals.
    'But my heart itself is broken' - when these words are uttered I feel like my heart is breaking for this guy too, his voice reaches tragic notes that little vocalists can, and I can't stop listening to it.
    Already anticipating the next one!
  5. May 8, 2011
    Took me awhile to fully appreciate this album but I fully listened to this album and really enjoyed it. I love the whole surfing kinda vibes that this album gives off. The drums, especially in the track "Angela Surf City", were truly amazing. Hamilton Leithauser's vocals have never sounded better. All In All, The Walkmen have crafted a great record. B+ Expand
  6. Jun 20, 2012
    Great album and my favourite from this band. The opener, "Juveniles", has a jangly guitar riff that will stick in your head forever. It's much more low key than their earlier work and the drummer rarely gets to hit the skins with any real gusto, he's just there in the backround quietly keeping the time. There are hardly any rock numbers and it's a record to listen to in peace and quiet more than belting out in the backround while doing something else. The songs are very well written across the record. It deserves and needs repeated listens to really appreciate it but it's a class record. To describe in one word - Mellow. Expand

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