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The Walkmen shift gears
toward atmospheric pop

The Walkmen - You & Me
(Gigantic Music)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 10, 2008
The Walkmen

Review by Tony Bonyata

On The Walkmen's fourth and most recent studio effort (not including their song-by-song cover of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon's 1974 Pussycats album that they released two years ago) the NYC-based indie rock band have created a dreamy, atmospheric collection of modern pop rock.

Entitled You & Me, The Walkmen have ushered in a new wave of New York cool - the first since their Big Apple contemporaries The Strokes took the underground music world by storm earlier this decade. And not unlike The Strokes' vocalist Julian Casablancas' detached, monochromatic delivery, frontman Hamilton Leithauser's vocals at times also have a similar nonchalance to them, but lying somewhere between the almost muffled, echoed mix in his vocals and the sweeping pop, there's a vast array of emotions screaming to break though.

The album opens with a laid-back, lo-fi cool on the number "Donde esta la Playa," which musically slips from subconscious ambience to ethereally pop. A sense of yearning hangs heavy on the majestic "In The New Year," while a clomping beat causes both calamity and intrigue during the chorus of the beautiful "Postcards from Tiny Islands," and again on the peppy "Four Provinces."

When things slow down, you might expect they'd get a bit sleepier, but, in fact, this is one arena The Walkmen excel in - as proved on the tranquil "New Country," the lilting Americana-influenced "If Only It Were True" and the waltzing balladry of "Red Moon," complete with subdued horns and introspective piano.

While the overall vibe of You & Me is certainly the band's most calming and reflective sounding music to date, it's also, somewhat surprisingly, their most rewarding as well.

Related articles:

The Walkmen / White Rabbits - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Jan. 2008
A Hundred Miles Off - Album review - June 2006

Watch The Walkmen - "In the New Year"

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