Andy James has a listen to the latest outing from The Walkmen:
Formed over a decade ago from the ashes of indie outfit Jonathan Fire*Eater, New York five-piece The Walkmen's flame burns brighter than ever - and in Heaven, the follow up to 2010's Lisbon, they've released their finest record in years.
One part Dylan and one part Casablancas, frontman Hamilton Leithauser's trademark rasp is still at the fore, but much of the album is a world away from the blistering rawness that marked early material like 2004 breakthrough single The Rat.
From the beautifully stripped-back acoustic opener, We Can't Be Beat, to the rallying call of album closer The Love You Love, it's a near-masterpiece - the sound of a band hitting musical maturity while sounding more relevant than ever.
Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold lends his vocals to four of the songs, and the indie rock credentials are boosted further by Phil Ek (The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Band Of Horses) behind the recording desk.
If there's any divine justice, Heaven will secure The Walkmen a place at indie's very top table.
Review by Andy James.