Formed from the ashes of Washington/New York-based alt-rock (and, it must be said, oddly-monikered) Jonathan Fire-Eater in the late '90s, it's somewhat surprising to learn that The Walkmen have barely had a sniff of mainstream action in the UK during the past 12 years or so. However, with events taking a turn for the positive for Messrs Leithauser, Maroon, Martin, Bauer and Barrick, 2012 might prove to be their year. Again.
Ten years ago, debut album 'Everyone Who Pretended to like Me Is Gone' racked up critical praise but little in the way of bill-paying sales. But, two years later in 2004, 'Bows and Arrows', complete with near-hit and powerful anthem 'The Rat', earned them kudos and some sold-out shows. Everything was looking up until they decided to drop the intensity in favour of reflection and a more organic sound for 2006's, 'A Hundred Miles Off'. An identity crisis of sorts perhaps, but a damaging one nonetheless - the UK duly switched off The Walkmen.
Things took a turn for the better with their last studio set - 'Lisbon' sneaked into the UK albums chart and gained many worthy reviews, as well as a spot on the ATP and Reading/Leeds Festivals of 2010. Which kind of brings us up to date with album number seven - seventh Heaven, in fact. 'Heaven' is due for release at the end of May and, as the teaser suggests, it sounds like they have grown up all over again. Similar in atmosphere to The Maccabees atmospheric trailer for their excellent 'Given to the Wild', the embedded short film might inspire you to dig deep for their promotional UK tour, later this year (as well as buying the album).
They will follow up their North American support slots with Florence and the Machine (and their already sold-out intimate Shoreditch gig next month) with a clutch of shows over here during the autumn, starting with Birmingham on 27th October, followed by Glasgow, Manchester and, once again, London (this time the larger HMV Forum). We'll have tickets from Friday morning at 9am, priced at £17.50 or less.