[sic] Magazine

The Walkmen – You & Me

Picture the scene: it’s Christmas time in New York and snowflakes fall from the sky. Somewhere in the distance a bar singer can be heard. His mind and larnyx damaged by excessive alcohol consumption, he mourns the loss of a loved one. The Walkmen conjure up such images with their inebriated brand of rock and roll. And so we have ‘You & Me’, which continues the good work laid down by predecessor ‘A Hundred Miles Off’.

‘On The Water’ is the first song to get the heart beating. The band play at marching pace, a distant whistle embellishes the chorus whist frontman Hamilton Leithauser sounds as reassuringly wounded as ever. A vintage keyboard is the main calling card for the rousing ‘In The New Year’; the perfect song to soundtrack the Christmas scene I alluded to earlier. There are several other songs which draw that often elusive line between euphoria and depression, namely ‘Four Princesses’ and the awesome ‘The Blue Route’ where Leithauser’s cracked vocals of “Eleven blackbirds in the sky / A hundred fireflies at night” are given beautifully poignant sense by the grand, bruised Hollywood arrangements.

Even their most off-key songs like ‘Postcards From Tiny Islands’ and the bluesy ‘Canadian Girl’ seem somehow heroic and throughout there’s a feeling that The Walkmen have been working with a Salvation Army band, adding yet more warmth and humanity to their performance.

Just like alcohol, ‘You & Me’ takes time to have an effect but soon it’s diffcult not to be intoxicated by its slurred emotions and controlled chaos. This is the kind of music which makes heterosexual men embrace each other unashamedly in the cold night air.



More of Jon’s Reviews can be found at his blog, Leonards Lair