The Walkmen

Pussy Cats (Record Collection)

Phases & Stages

The Walkmen

Pussy Cats (Record Collection)

The Walkmen's track-for-track redux of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon's classic 1974 "lost weekend" buddy album could have stayed a boozy 3am idea that never comes to fruition. It's no secret the NYC lads love Nilsson, but their Pussy Cats have regurgitated a painfully indulgent hairball. "Many Rivers to Cross," so gloriously reinforced by Nilsson's shot vocal chords and a string section on the original, sounds forced here, while "Subterranean Homesick Blues" falls a scotch on the rocks short of capturing the big kick of Dylan. Hamilton Leithauser has a capable voice, but whereas Nilsson's vocals were genuinely trashed during the infamously excess-fueled recording, Leithauser sounds cartoonish trying to copy it note-for-note. Saving graces: "Old Forgotten Soldier" sounds pretty close to its rightful last-call wooze; "Save the Last Dance" has an awkward charm in its come-hither vocal breeze. And, to their credit, they do sound genuinely drunk.

**

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