Seeing as we’re only a few tracks into the indie disco here, I’m a little worried that we’re going too frenetic, too soon with this one. On the other hand, there’s nothing worse than a one-paced, nicely does it, “after you, sir” evening designed to keep the levels up, but not too up.
The Rat, taken from Bows + Arrows, the second album by The Walkmen, is an astonishing tour de force, a whirling dervish and an unapologetic rant. It’s the song that made the name of The Walkmen, and you can see that as either a good thing (publicity! fame! tv spots! big crowds!) or a bad thing (wait, this isn’t The Rat - booooo! play The Rat!). Drummer Matt Barrick might lean toward the latter, given the inevitable effort of somehow generating such seemingly impossible pace and energy, while Hamilton Leithauser’s vocal chords would probably agree.
Weirdly, the band weren’t even all that happy with the recorded version of the song:
So the record company said, “Why don’t you try going in with a producer?” continues Walter. So we did, and it doesn’t sound right at all. I think the production for the rest of the album makes the music sound big and live. But The Rat just sounds dense and solid, like a little ball. But it’s fine.The Guardian
Find out for yourself with the Spotify link or check out the blistering Letterman performance in the video (and if you’re from the UK, cry into your Radio Times and send furious, tear-stained emails to the director of the BBC, and whoever’s in charge of ITV these days and ask them why, oh why, oh why do we have such a dearth of exciting music on our national airwaves? And tell them, before they tell you, that Later… just doesn’t cut it after 488 series…)