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The Walkmen's Peter Bauer, re: our Lisbon review

By Peter Bauer | 28 September 2010

A note from Andre:

As a reviewer it sometimes feels a little bit odd talking about a band’s work without ever engaging them in a conversation on the album at hand. Must reviews and interviews always be such separate entities? For my Lisbon review, I tried a little experiment: after writing the review I sent a copy to the band and solicited their response. The brave organist/bassist for the Walkmen, Peter Bauer, returned my inquiry with an insightful and humorous retort. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Walkmen’s response to Cokemachineglow’s review of Lisbon.

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Dear Andre,

Thanks for reviewing our record Lisbon for your magazine. I’m not sure exactly how to respond to a review of our own record. It’s sort of a confusing thing to do though it would be very easy if it was more negative and half assed. For instance, I am going to find the guy from Rolling Stone’s address and leave a burning bag of dog shit at his door. Otherwise, I have to say I don’t have too much to add to this I’m afraid. Maybe that I hope it doesn’t all come off too easy and breezy. A few records back, we stumbled on a few songs that I suppose were filled with “menace” or anger and all those sorts of qualities you mention, but this anger (or whatever it is) was all put forth with a desire to have a good time, to let loose, to get across some kind of experience of the world that certain types of music and songs do for us. I remember driving around Philadelphia recently with my wife and I put on a Tom Waits song “Whistle Down the Wind” and she asked me why I would play this dour depressing song on such a nice afternoon. Well, I guess it was a rather depressing song, really kind of maudlin, and I guess she was right, it was really a terrible choice. But to me and, I think, to the rest of us in this group, sometimes it’s in the most depressing types of songs, or the most angry types of songs, and so on, that you can find a whole hell of a lot of joy. It’s not necessarily that the song is sad or happy or just another song about a girl or about a night on the town, but that it’s got something behind it that’s all in the pursuit of giving a sense of a real experience which is ultimately a good feeling. So, “The Rat” or “In the New Year” and those sort of screamers they’re not really any angrier than say, “Red Moon” or “Stranded.” They’re all after the exact same thing, it’s just that you always have to try a new approach. Otherwise, you’re going to need a lot of bags of dog shit and are going to have a hell of a lot of reviewers doorsteps to visit.