Little House of Savages
“The Rat” is proof some of the best songs written can come out of simple jam sessions. Matt Barrick was fucking around on his kit at band practice, riding his hi-hat at maximum velocity while mixing in some snare and bass in what essentially became the equivalent of playing a four minute long drum fill. I imagine the rest of the band’s ears perked up, and Paul Maroon blasted a few lightning fast chords over top with that signature guitar sound of his, the bass and electric organ joined in, adding complimentary undertones to the sonic mayhem that had just been constructed. Hamilton Leithauser scribbled down a few words in a few minutes and began to scream them as loudly as he could. The session culminated in to a song that has a loud, nervous kinetic energy that only briefly relinquishes for the greatest few lines of the song:
“When I used to go out I would know everyone that I saw
Now I go out alone if I go out at all”
Leithauser sings with such emotion (sounding similar to Paul Westerberg or Greg Dulli) you can’t help but get wrapped up in the heartache he’s experiencing. Bows & Arrows has a few more similarly outstanding tracks in “Little House of Savages” and “My Old Man.” But “The Rat” is the breadwinner, a track that most everyone had near the top of their list of best songs in 2004.
Look out for the Walkmen on Jimmy Fallon this week, 08/12.