The Walkmen Lee's Palace, Toronto ON - January 28, 2006

Though we're still months away from the release of the Walkmen's third album, A Hundred Miles Off, the dapperly dressed Brooklynites made a between-albums stop in Toronto to preview new songs and reacquaint fans with familiar ones. Delivering a low-key greeting as they walked onstage, the quintet launched into a brand new number that assured fans they hadn't succumbed to any radical changes in direction during their recent time spent in their Marcata studio. New material actually made up a good portion of the set, as "Good For You's Good For Me," "The Cheetah," "Lost in Boston" and the "untitled title track to the album," according to cheeky singer Hamilton Leithauser (presumably "A Hundred Miles Off"), shed some light on their new developments. While the songs all sounded fresh, they revealed an accessibility that hints that this next album stands a good chance of elevating them to the levels of success achieved by analogous bands like the Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse. In fact, the most noticeable difference in the band wasn't so much the music as it was the line-up. Constant instrument swapping occurred between regular bassist Peter Bauer and organist Walter Martin throughout, revealing that the pair also switched roles during recording to help spark inspiration. Though the preview of new songs was exciting, it was the older, recognisable numbers, "Little House of Savages," "Wake Up" and "We've Been Had," that were welcomed with heaps of enthusiasm. And despite the fact that Leithauser sounded on the verge of losing his voice entirely when he tried to raise his register, mini-hit "The Rat" received the biggest response, most likely because of the way drummer Matt Barrick was vehemently pounding away, like Animal bingeing on trucker speed and Jolt cola.