September 4, 2008

The Walkmen: You & Me

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Armed with vintage instruments, New York City swagger and undeniable talent, The Walkmen walk the line between being soul-crushingly wistful and infectiously exuberant — establishing an exercise of juxtaposition on their latest album, You & Me. Hamilton Leithauser’s vocal acrobatics alongside Walter Martin and Peter Bauer’s solid organ and bass play keep the album grounded, while jangling guitar riffs and shuffling drums round out the instrumentation. Stellar production values envelop the charming songs, establishing an authentic “live sound” that does not color any of the subtleties in the music, but rather gives each of the album’s elements their own individual space to be enjoyed.
The Walkmen’s fluctuating energy level on the album is present from the start as a soft waltzing bass line; equally moseying drums on the opener “Dónde Está la Playa” quickly melt into the fiery guitar-driven atmospheric rocker “On the Water.” Album standouts “Red Moon” with its solemn cornets and horns, and “Canadian Girl” with Leithauser’s best Orbison impersonation help to round out the musical range on the record, as The Walkmen provide a swirling mélange of moonlight ballads, soaring rock anthems and folk lamentations.