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Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone

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Album Review

Waves of dark, shimmering guitar riffs cascade over you as the Walkmen conjure up ghosts of the Velvet Underground on "They're Winning," the introduction to the band's debut, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone. Made up of three survivors of the industry's one-time "future of rock & roll" band, Jonathan Fire*Eater (organist Walter Martin, guitarist Paul Maroon, and drummer Matt Barrick), along with bassist Peter Bauer and vocalist Hamilton Leithauser, the Walkmen combine the aforementioned group's skewed mod rock minus the major-label polish. Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone points at the band's roots — New York City's late-'70s/early-'80s CBGB's scene. It is not so much that the Walkmen sound like Television or the Talking Heads or Blondie, but that they, like their NYC peers Interpol, the French Kicks, and Radio 4, evoke the gritty, urban energy so well. "Wake Up," previously released on the band's debut EP, is downright eerie as vocalist Hamilton Leithauser moans over the twisting melody. The title track is an intense spiral of space rock with spare but melodramatic string flourishes. "Revenge Wears No Wristwatch" is so stripped that it is propelled almost entirely by the drumbeat. "The Blizzard of '96," "Stop Talking," and the strangely catchy "We've Been Had" chime like a broken music box with an off-kilter, storybook glimmer. What world do these songs come from? Clearly, it is someplace magical — a Tim Burton dream, a Wim Wenders skyline, maybe a comic book Gotham or manga artist Paul Pope's futuristic curry-scented, Tokyo-ized New York City. But, wherever it is, you'll be drawn into the parallel universe as soon as you push "play."


Formed: 2000 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Walkmen feature three members from Jonathan Fire*Eater and two from the Recoys. When Jonathan Fire*Eater disbanded in 1998, the group took the remainder of their Dreamworks funding and established an uptown rehearsal space in New York City that doubled as a 24-track recording studio where they use a wide variety of vintage equipment. The 900-square-foot Harlem industrial space, dubbed Marcata Studios, was completed in the fall of 1999. (Bands that have recorded at their studio include labelmates...
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Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, The Walkmen
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