The Walkmen Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone

Five years ago, Washington hopefuls Jonathan Fire*Eater signed to Dreamworks, released an album while riding a huge wave of hype, failed miserably and quickly disappeared into the twilight, never to be heard from again. When the mess was finally cleaned up in 1999, three of the band’s five members started another quintet called the Walkmen, hoping that things would be a little different this time around. Based in NYC, the Walkmen continues that same big drum and haunting Wurlitzer sound with another passionate singer up front. The result is their debut album, Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone, a stunning array of grainy, dramatic, lo-fi garage rock, following more in the tradition of classic U2 and the Cure than the Sonics or the Stooges. Every one of the songs sounds like it has been compressed into a small box of a recording studio, producing a raw and tinny sound that comes off magically. The romanticism seeping out of Hamilton Leithauser’s croon is Smiths-like, especially when he oozes his lyrics out on tracks like "Revenge Wears No Wristwatch” and "Roll Down the Line.” Some moments may remind some of another hot, young NYC band, but make no mistake, the Walkmen have been doing this for three years, and I think it’s safe to say this won’t be the last we hear of them. (Star Time International)