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The Walkmen Finish New Album, Cover U2 Horribly

Bono Walkmen

The Walkmen have been getting compared to U2 for so long it has probably replaced questions about precursor band Jonathan Fire*eater’s sad major-label flop on the New York rockers’ list of pet peeves. Hell, SPIN compared them to “U2 meets Neil Diamond” in one of their very first mentions in this magazine. Good news: The Walkmen have announced the completion of the follow-up to their older, wiser 2010 album Lisbon. News that’s worth one rubber-necking click: They’ve posted a godawful U2 medley to commemorate the occasion.

The Walkmen’s U2 mega-mix includes raucous, lyrically challenged, and quite possibly soused renditions of “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “With or Without You,” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” You can hear it on the Walkmen’s website and Facebook.

Calling the recording “embarrassing,” the Walkmen say it was made “on the sly” by producer Phil Ek, which suggests Ek — whose work includes beloved indie-rock albums by Built to Spill, the Shins, Fleet Foxes, and Band of Horses. “It’s our way of blowing off steam I guess,” the band writes on its website. “Please forgive us.” Done and done. (As the band told us a few months ago, Ek oversaw the proper album, too. He’s definitely somewhat of a perfectionist,” singer Hamilton Leithouser told SPIN. “He doesn’t let things slide that we’d let slide, which is good. We’ve done a lot of rock in the past, and Phil has made the new stuff rock really hard.”)

And because it feels wrong to highlight only bad but funny music when the Walkmen have so much goodness to choose from, here’s the aquatic-themed video for leisurely Lisbon bonus track (that’s right! This is only a bonus track!) “Orange Sunday,” in which Leithauser rasps, “The good gets better all around me.” Does it sound like U2 meets Neil Diamond? Your call: