New music: The Walkmen – Heartbreaker

This band of not so merry men sound almost jubilant on this highlight from their forthcoming album, Heaven

"I'm not your heartbreaker, some tender ballad player," Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser sings on Heartbreaker, the second track from the band's forthcoming seventh album Heaven (the title track can be heard here). It's a strange statement given no one in their right mind would mistake Leithauser and his band of not so merry men for doe-eyed balladeers. In fact, when the song – premiered here exclusively – opens with a tightly wound and urgent-sounding guitar riff it sounds a bit Walkmen-by-numbers, a template they've followed since their first album in 2002. But it's a red herring, as it quickly settles into a lovely, mid-paced jangle, which, though not exactly skipping about, has a certain lightness of touch that even makes the lyric "You know I'm hopeless, oh no, no you're wrong, it's not the singer it's the song" sound almost jubilant. As ever there's still a sense of tension, reaching an apex midway when the drums drop out completely and those skyscraping guitars keep the vocals afloat before normal service is resumed.

• Heaven is due via Fat Possum/Bella Union on 4 June.


Michael Cragg

The GuardianTramp

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