You & Me
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|5. In The New Year|
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|7. If Only It Were True|
|8. The Blue Route|
|9. Seven Years Of Holidays|
|10. Long Time Ahead Of Us|
|11. Red Moon|
|12. New Country|
|13. I lost You|
|14. Four Provinces|
The Truth: THE WALKMEN are from New York City. They consist of Hamilton Leithauser (vocals/guitar), Paul Maroon (guitar/piano), Walter Martin (organ/bass), Matt Barrick (drums) and Peter Bauer (bass/organ). 'You & Me' is their fourth album and their first on fierce panda, although hardcore panda enthusiasts may well recall that a Walkmen track, 'My Old Man', appeared on the 'Shock & Oar' EP in 2004. ** THE WALKMEN are of course men of stealth and craft, dressed in black and, one wagers, distressed at the lack of loving care and attention applied to modern music. Eight years since the mighty 'We've Been Had' signaled the demise of Jonathan Fire*Eater and heralded the start of something even weirder, 'You & Me' finds the enigmatic quintet in predictably moody form with fourteen tracks of fearsome ingenuity featuring their trademark clanging guitar, their spooked keyboards making like a gothic ice cream van on Mars, their drums rolling like a schooner in a force ten gale. ** Alternative wild cards THE WALKMEN may be but you can't fault their consistency: 2002 saw the release of 'Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone', 2004 was the year of 'The Rat' and its parent album 'Bows & Arrows', 2006 witnessed 'A Hundred Miles Off' and precisely two more years later comes 'You & Me'. So underestimate THE WALKMEN at your peril. Likewise, if the music has a chaotic, drunken ebb and flow which hints at some spontaneous outpouring of musical grief then the reality is anything but, as 'You & Me' was painstakingly pieced together over two years in two cites - NYC and Philadelphia - and part of that meticulous construction was to make the album sound like a rock'n'roll record with depth and warmth and - uniquely for this notoriously challenging outfit - an uplifting mood to accompany the downtrodden chords. This then is a pukka grown-up album by a proper music lover's band. ** Drowned In Sound has already acclaimed 'You & Me', saying "This might be the best thing they've ever done", and we aren't about to disagree. European live dates are currently being booked but until then cuddle up to... www.myspace.com/thewalkmen
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Seriously, this album is a true gem. "In The New Year" is just gorgeous and my personal favorite--good, god, the organs! The album starts off gritty and grabs your full attention with the bass heavy "Donde Esta La Playa." "On The Water" is very atmospheric and the vocals just carry the listener higher to bliss until it all explodes in a very exciting ending. "Red Moon" is a soft song and is just thoroughly beautiful, particularly the use of horns. "Four Provinces" features some very hypnotic percussions. "Canadian Girl" has some excellent piercing guitar melodies.
This album is successful in many categories. I couldn't find a song I didn't enjoy nor an aspect of The Walkmen's playing that didn't captivate me. The guitars are sonic, droning and blissful. The drums pound, thump and incite my feet to stomp in pattern. The crooning is likely the best Leithauser has shown us yet--very moving. And the bass is just completely soothing. If you haven't been a fan of The Walkmen yet, be prepared to be...
This is the Walkmen at their most bare, melancholy, and oddly laid-back sounding. It also sounds amazing! They will never match the intensity and sheer audacity of their debut work, however this may be a close second. A Hundred Miles Off was fascinating work, i absolutely loved the latin influences and the ispiration of Bob Dylan felt on that album. But for dark, late-night barroom jams for the brokenhearted, this album has them in spades. If in a bad mood, this depressing album will strangely make you feel better, as if pleasantly aware of your depressive state. This album is very hard to categorize, and very surprising. It really will make you think your life over, and reevaluate your feelings. It is an epic masterpiece, and evidence that there is no end in sight for the Walkmen.
The Walkmen are far too overlooked in the rock music world, never mind the erroneous "indie" world. I credit them with re-pioneering garage and tube-amps and dirt and fuzz and soul in rock. They technically beat The Strokes to it as well as all the derivative acts thereafter, and while they were a few years behind Jack and Meg, their aesthetic is closer to a Bob Dylan Gospel Choir than Screamin Jay Hawkins or Chuck Berry. Hamilton Leithauser's voice is some deliciously queer mix of Rod Stewart and Sinatra, with far more energy and truth behind his singing than any other artist working today. The music and primacy of craft takes Dick Dale, Richard Thompson, The Zombies, and Gang of Four and throws it all in a blender, coming out the other side a nervous, dreamy, decayed, and wistful melange -- someone driving a dirty-stringed Rickenbacker into a rare Russian tube amp cranked up and pushed through a bastardized Leslie cabinet, your ears four city blocks away from it all, the sound snaking through naked streets and abandoned storehouses and tenements and wrestling the night fog just to get to your earlobes. Of course, someone is just back and to the left, thrashing away on the drums, or claves, for pete's sakes. How many rock bands still use percussion these days, not just drums, and not in the tired Montreal sort of way? Seven years ago the lyrics were haphazard and written by prep-school naifs; now, they're as laconic as W C Williams on his deathbed, images reserved, direct, and emphatic. The words are earnest, the music a bit more dejected and far more experienced than the target audiences. Leithauser occasionally meets this salt of the earth music with a candor and deep sadness that every other act out there tries so hard to conceal through irony, makeup, beards, stage antics, corny music, or self-serving and self-referential lyrics, despite the subject matter of many of the songs positive or at least non-depressing.
Not at all a retread, though showing their roots well, a threadbare band gets vulnerable for you, just for you. Take them up on the offer. They've grown up quite a bit, you know. They're certainly no children anymore. You might even want to hold their hand a little before they slink off into the foul black brooding of the studio.
I can't really put it better than Betty Clarke's five star review from The Guardian UK (above). That a fourth album can be this good is astounding in these times of diminishing returns. Hamilton's vocals have never sounded better drenched as they are by the rest of the band's splashy and reverbed guitars and skittering drums and bass. Slower and more sure footed than previous efforts this moody magnificence continually made the hairs on the back my neck stand to attention. Scarily good.
I can't separate one thing that I like the best about the walkmen, but the bass really stands out on You & Me. Then again so do the guitars, vocals, etc. You can hear each instrument as it adds to the overall sound, even when it's a wall of sound. The loser who used to be the administrator on the Walkmen messageboard was writing them off as of this album. He was WAY OFF! I would be extremely surprised if any Walkmen fans would not like this album, at the same time I can them picking up new fans as the songs are quite accessable without being comercially bland.