Music review of You & Me by Walkmen
“The Walkmen” is an American five-piece indie rock band from New York City. The Walkmen consists of Hamilton Leithauser (vocals and guitar), Paul Maroon (guitar and piano), Walter Martin (organ and bass), Peter Bauer (bass and organ) and Matt Barrick (drums). His musical genres are mainly indie rock, post-punk revival and a bit of garage rock.
You & Me starts with “Donde Esta la Playa”. The combination of the bass and the organ is quite good. At first, it sounded very weird. But after a few listens, my perception of the background music while Hamilton sings changed completely. It continues to loop until the drums and guitar enter the chorus, where Hamilton sings with effort: “I’m dancing, dancing, on this beautiful wooden floor… My eyes hurt so much…”. I just know when and where to meet and out loud. At the start of half time.
“Flamingos (For Colbert)” is an instrumental track. Only guitars can be heard on this track. It could have been an introduction for this album.
The Walkmen continued with “On The Water”, a track that shares some similarities with the first track. The guitar can be heard accompanying Hamilton’s singing. As this song goes further and further, the music gradually becomes richer and more complete. Sometimes Hamilton just knows how to use his voice to its fullest by moaning and howling. As the end nears, I like the hiss. It just complements On The Water so much!
“In The New Year” begins with some guitar riffs and Hamilton’s vocals. When the chorus arrives, the music simply changes to a fuller mode. The most notable instrument is the organ. It just has a special connection to Hamilton’s singing, “I know it’s true, it’s going to be a good year, out of the dark and into the fire, I’ll tell you that I love you…” Every time the chorus comes on, Los Walkmen did a very good job elevating In The New Year to another mode. Sometimes I just think about Christmas while listening to this song. Ho Ho Ho!
“Seven Years Of Holidays (For Stretch)” has an energetic start with licks of guitar and drums. On the verse, you’ll find the drums and guitar conquering the song along with Hamilton’s vocals. When the chorus comes, the whole track just changes gears. The music has the effect of making you bob your head, and Hamilton’s voice couldn’t be in better timing than this. Great stuff here!
“Postcards From Tiny Islands” sounds like Seven Years of Holidays (For Stretch) at the beginning with the drum hits, only this time it’s faster. As Hamilton sings, the drums play soft but fast. Only the guitar accompanies Hamilton as he sings. When the chorus hits, like the previous tracks, the music just explodes with the guitar playing on catchy, repetitive hooks. There seem to be two different parts in Postcards from Tiny Islands. What a feat!
“Red Moon” makes my jaw drop as I don’t expect The Walkmen to slow down with a ballad. But they do it with Red Moon and fill the track with amazing piano touches. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine Hamilton singing such a ballad. Not only the piano, you will also find the horn in this ballad. I love the combination of the three instruments on this track, guitar, piano and horn. Wonderful break from The Walkmen.
“Canadian Girl” is truly an amazing song on You & Me! It has a jazzy feel to it. And I wouldn’t blame you if you find yourself swinging with Canadian Girl. It’s so good! Most of the time, Hamilton can be heard dragging her voice after each phrase of the lyrics, or between lyrics. “And only I… I still call you mine… Only I… I still hold on…” As you sway with Canadian Girl, the further it goes, the better the music becomes. The horn can also be heard after Hamilton’s last vocal feature on this track. The remaining 1:20 minute is just beautiful, enjoy this memorable one.
“Four Provinces” recovers the guitar riffs of The Walkmen. The constant beat of percussion can be heard throughout the Cuatro Provincias. In the chorus, I like how Hamilton sings, “Hey you, am I getting over? There’s one more ray of light for the weekend… Hey you, am I getting over? The candles in your eyes still burn… “Especially the line, “Hey, are you coming through?” Hamilton just screams when he sings this line, then softens for the next line. Sometimes I feel like singing. Check out the guitar riffs and percussion on this track too.
“Long Time Ahead of Us” has great lyrics. “When you come, come at night and leave me in the middle of the night, take me tonight as I am, leave me as they found me…” This track from The Walkmen is slow, and at times it seems like it will never get off the ground. It manages to make us want more, but the music seems to be playing within the same circle. When it reaches the end, only then does the French horn manage to put this track back on the line.
“The Blue Route” has a really catchy and happy guitar hook. I feel great when I hear this song, it has the same quality as Canadian Girl. Making you sway and shake your head from side to side. Only here, the guitar sound is very echoic and can be heard almost 98% of the time. It is simple but capable of creating an instant pleasing impression. The Walkmen are creating a wall of guitar sound on The Blue Route! Unforgettable!
“New Country” is as the title suggests. It has some country elements to it, it just sounds newer and more modern. The guitar can only be heard playing while Hamilton sings. It’s a pretty consistent effort from start to finish. The Walkmen did not try to add any special sounds or touches to it. But it’s still a good effort.
“I Lost You” begins with guitar and trumpet playing in the background. It sounds very light at first and Hamilton sings like he’s too tired to lead another song. “Keep driving, keep driving, the road is bright and long, the river is overflowing, the houses are burning…” Little by little on this track, the guitar seems to take on some energy and starts to get louder as Hamilton continues to sing. The second half of I Lost You is filled with guitar riffs, as if competing with Hamilton’s vocals.
“If Only It Were True” is a slow tempo track that primarily features Hamilton’s vocals and The Walkmen’s guitar. It has the quality to be the last track on an album. It’s a good choice that The Walkmen decide to end You & Me with If Only If Were True. Hamilton sings the last lines before You & Me closes with: “So don’t come calling me, ’cause darling, my dream isn’t over, and when, when I’ve had enough, I’ll die dreaming of you.” “Sometimes I think Hamilton has a hard time singing this song, he seems to be struggling with his voice. Still a good track and effort though.