The Walkmen set for Celtic Connections 2011
New York quintet's impassioned tales of dejection and desperation
New York quintet The Walkmen conjure a sound that spans the pastoral to the outright raucous. Though they are not perhaps one of the most obvious additions to any Celtic Connections bill, their material has been known to incorporate more ‘traditional’ elements – hinted at by the numerous comparisons to the ramshackle folk of The Pogues – alongside the obvious indelible marks left by their home city’s vibrant indie scene.
In recent years, the band have gone from strength to strength, particularly in 2010, with the release of their acclaimed sixth album, Lisbon. Their collective knack for creating emphatic, layered accompaniments to Hamilton Leithauser’s impassioned tales of dejection and desperation seemed to hit its stride with this particular effort; an album that critics across the board have been hailing as their greatest achievement to date.
Utilising a love for robust arrangements and vintage instrumentation — combined with the raw skeletal power any good rock band ought to possess — the sheer effort and contagious energy of their live show has won them the adulation of fans worldwide, slogging it out over the best part of a decade.
Every year Celtic Connections offers one of the most diverse musical programmes around, boasting a litany of performances and special events where the traditional meets the comparatively un-traditional. The Walkmen’s show should enrapture anyone with an appreciation for music that is undoubtedly played from the heart.
Oran Mor, Glasgow, 19 Jan