Sep 7, 2008

You & Me-The Walkmen

If you combine maturity and complexity, substance and depth, strength and tenderness, then hopefully the end result will be desirable. All of this and more applies to the latest effort from New York's The Walkmen. "You & Me" is a towering triumph. A searing document of powerful, yet elegant rock music. It is, quite likely, their finest achievement. It is a product of a band in full flow, a band at the peak of their powers. A band that uses the usual template of guitars and drums and yet, sounds like no other band on earth. The minute you hear a Walkmen song you know it sounds singular and unique. Thankfully, on this album they also sound exquisite.

My initial impression of the album is that "You & Me" is a more subdued effort then previous albums. But, in a good way. There is a slowly built up power to each song, best shown on the opening track "Dónde está la Playa", a lovely swaying number that feels effortless and easy. The heavy hitters do come up early on this album though. The majestic "On The Water" and "In The New Year" are back to back and feature the band's trademarks. Sweetly clanging guitars, rhythmical drumming and the beastly yawl of lead singer Hamilton Leithauser. The man's voice is certainly unique. Often pitched at near a shout, it always conveys a certain vulnerability, yet also an outspoken strength. Maybe an acquired taste, it does however resonate deeply and strongly with me. The album, though quite lengthy, hardly wavers. Complex and subtle songs with hidden strengths flow through out the album. Concerning themselves mainly with regret and loss, there is always a melancholic edge to the songs. "Seven Years of Holidays (for Stretch)" and "I Lost You" are great examples of odes to remorse, their plaintive tone creating quite an impact. Then there are superb songs such as "Postcards From Tiny Islands" which is a great example to the supreme drumming of Matt Barrick. Or, you can have the aching tenderness of "Red Moon", perhaps the most beautiful song that the band has recorded. Other highlights include the eerie "New Country" and the powerful "Four Provinces". As stated, "You & Me" is a complex and beautiful piece of music, made by a band that pushes all the right buttons. If you like an album that makes you feel and think, then this album is for you.

4 Comments:

  • At September 08, 2008 , Anonymous snowy atlas mountains said...

    hey mate,

    Just have to say thanks for all the music that you have brought to myself and the many others. Through your blog I have found countless bands that i hold very dearly (Elvis Perkins, Beirut, Ra ra riot).

    Have you heard the music of the tallest man on earth?? if you haven't he is a folk singer from sweden and doing a tour around aus next month. Check out his EP if you can. Anyways just wanna give something back, all the best.

    Tom

     
  • At September 08, 2008 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Thanks a lot Tom,

    Your words are very generous and I will make sure I look into The Tallest Man on Earth

     
  • At September 09, 2008 , Blogger James said...

    Yeah - this record is really good. Was wondering, do you like it better than Wolf Parade? :~)

     
  • At September 09, 2008 , Blogger Wayne said...

    James, I do love this album, probably top 5 for this year. But Wolf Parade is still my number one.

     

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