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D.C. ex-pats The Walkmen have a low-key taste for the dramatic. Like their adopted city, New York, their songs—understated and occasionally explosive—inhabit a cinematic landscape, conjuring up nostalgic scenes where tension gradually builds and the guy never ends up with the girl. Since the band broke through with 2002’s Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, its reliable body of work (save for 2006’s misfire A Hundred Miles Off) has adhered to the simple yet effective pairing of down-tempo waltzes and lead singer Hamilton Leithauser’s wispy melancholia. With his morose wordplay and laconic delivery, Leithauser is the perfect foil to the band’s slow-burn dynamic, a formula that remains intact on this year’s excellent Lisbon. Similar to 2004’s critically lauded Bows + Arrows, it finds the Walkmen on the right side of balancing their customary restraint with a brooding, simmering fury.
THE WALKMEN PERFORM WITH TENNIS AT 8 P.M. AT THE 9:30 CLUB, 815 V ST. NW. $18. (202) 265-0930.