Pussy Cats review by The Walkmen

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  • Released: Oct 24, 2006
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 4.8 (5 votes)
The Walkmen: Pussy Cats

Sound — 9
The decision to record Pussy Cats was made by The Walkmen unanimously. Among the members of the band this Harry Nilsson's album, produced by John Lennon is an all-time favorite. It was probably the anticipation of putting out the cover record that left The Walkmen with no doubts in spite of the fact their latest release A Hundred Miles Off was out just a season away. So, here's what we get: Pussycats Starring the Walkmen, out 24th of October on Record Collection and The Walkmen accurately playing their favorite songs. The album, recorded by Lennon, Nilsson, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and a slew of other friends in the midst of a party has been rated as misunderstood since it's been out. New York favorite rockers The Walkmen give it another try and cover songs half of those were already covered by Nilsson. Pussycats Starring the Walkmen is generous for guest appearances -- The Walkmen invited a string quartet, a saxophone player, an upright bass player and forty one backup singers! The record is full of weird tracks -- like happy Loop de Loop that would do as a song for any kids' party. Or barroom cabaret ballads like Old Forgotten Soldier with a piano player almost sleeping behind the instrument while performing. Not to mention the song is sang like the singer is falling asleep too. Don't Forget Me is a soulful ballad with only piano as the accompaniment. Jimmy Cliff's Many Rivers To Cross sounds a lot like The Beatles' Free As A Bird, especially when it comes to the guitars. The craziest song on the record Around The Clock starts with a sound of a drill, which is pretty sad if you know the story behind it. Pussy Cats was recorded during the last days in Marcata Studios, owned by the band, and that drill probably symbolizes the carpentering works that started while The Walkmen were finishing their last song. There are no hit songs in the way we understand it now. It's a pity, but the classics of the past century can hardy be called catchy or commercial now.

Lyrics — 8
One of the reasons for The Walkmen frontman and vocalist Hamilton Leithauser to like particularly Pussy Cats album is the fact that he can easily sing any song from it. Not that Harry Nilsson had always has the same soaring scratching voice as Leithauser, but when it comes to that particular album -- yes he did. The night he entered the studio to record the album, his vocal cords were damaged, which left him without an opportunity to use his impressive higher register (that's a common problem of all drinkers that like to shout getting wasted). Being afraid to ruin the record session he left it as it was and we already know the result. Leithauser called for help some of his friends -- Mazarin frontman Quentin Stoltzfus to sing Black Sails and Ian Svenonius (of Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up) to duet in Save The Last Dance.

Overall Impression — 9
Recording Pussy Cats The Walkmen were not afraid to make a joke of themselves. The CD cover has all five of them, dressed in funny costumes (one gorilla, one fruit and so on...) in a room with music instruments, probably showcasing one of the rehearsals. Starting from there, you already know what to expect -- this is not an album to be taken seriously. As all the songs are recorded note-for-note following the original release, the point of releasing the album is not quite clear. It's like the best karaoke album ever recorded -- everything is copied with such a diligence that you almost don't notice the difference. Maybe it's just a nice bonus for the fans and you can get it for really cheap after the concert? Nope... But did Lennon and Nilsson care about all that recording Pussy Cats half-drunk in 1974? I guess your approval or non-approval wasn't really the point of releasing Pussy Cats. The band already has enough albums to be proud of. Having recorded the current one, probably understood by those sharing the same mood with the musicians, The Walkmen got the best feeling we've had in a long time.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    the last time i checked, john lennon was still dead.....unless he rose from the dead.... i have no clue what this guy is talking about in this article
    You've probably heard a song or two by The Walkmen, you just didn't know it was them. Very fun band, saw 'em in nashville once. And this album is a cover of an album, a note for note rerecording of an album that Harry Nilsson and produced by John recorded in 1974. It was recorded at a party where everyone was really drunk and so it's been misunderstood, but it's a favorite of The Walkmen, so they decided to have some fun and re-record it themselves. I've never heard of the original album or that The Walkmen recorded it, so how did I know all that? I just read this article... seriously, it wasn't all that hard to understand. You people, you really need to work on some reading comprehension.
    I personally love The Walkmen. What struck me as odd was that they were featured in World Series commercials with the song "The Rat." Are they finally getting some recognition? Well I think they deserve it.
    damn right they do, i had a signed walkmen tshirt, untill my mother washed the bastard.