The Walkmen

You & Me

Fierce Panda

"When I used to go out I knew everyone I saw / Now I go out alone, if I go out at all" so sang front Walkman Hamilton Leithauser on ‘The Rat’, which along with ‘Little House of Savages’ was the other ‘Hit’ from ‘Bows and Arrows’, the New York Five Piece’s second album  released in 2004. Well the good news for Hamilton, four years and 2 and a bit albums later (2006’s Hundred Miles Off was followed by a cover album of John Lennon and Harry Nillson’s 1974 Pussy Cats) is that he seems to have found some significant company to which to devote plenty of material from their latest ‘You & Me’ (the title of which could be a giveaway, the album itself certainly was, with proceeds from the first two weeks of digital sales going straight to The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer centre in New York).  The even better news for the rest of us, is that this already great band just keep getting better.

“You know I’d never leave you and that’s just how it is” (On the Water), 
“I tell you I love you and my heart’s in the strangest place, that’s how it started and that’s how it ends” (In the New Year)
“You are the morning and I am the night” (Canadian Girl)

Are just a select few of the lyrical bouquets presented by Leithauser, as beautifully gift-wrapped as ever by the vintage instruments favoured by the band.  Ok, ’You & Me’ has actually been out for the best part of a year, but as past releases have proved, there really is no point rushing into conclusions on a Walkmen record, once in, it’s going to stay with you for a long time, maturing with every listen.  Take ‘Seven Years of Holidays’ for example, there, amongst the reverbed guitar and sparse-distant drums, lies the subtlest of string sections - quietly elevating this previously unassuming track up into the favourites after the twenty-something listen.

But picking favourites from ‘You & Me’ is a fairly pointless exercise, whereas 'Bows and Arrows' and ‘A Hundred Miles Off’  had their clear and immediate standouts, ‘You & Me’ is built up of fourteen parts to make a devastatingly beautiful whole.  For me they are up there with The National as America’s standout band at the moment, if sensitive, thoughtful, intelligent, rocking tunes is what you are after.  6 months in, I’m still waiting for a different album to come along and knock it from its heavily repeated listen perch.  Great Stuff.


23rd Apr 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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You Say Party! We Say Die!

Lose All Time

Fierce Panda

With a catchy band name straight out of the school of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah this Vancouver 5 piece release their follow up to last years Hit The Floor. Its noisy, frenzied post-punk-disco that should tick all the right boxes with the NME demographic, but you'd be wise not to let that put you off. This sound may be running very much according to the current course of trend but it's got enough grit and ugliness to keep it this side of tired.

Vocalist Becky Ninkovic is the main reason why this band recall certain elements of The Yeah Yeah Yeah's with often shrieked lyrics being delivered over hard hitting and gloriously spiky guitars. Appearing like they're making it up as they go along this band have a refreshingly light touch that adds to the rawness of their sound. Just as Karen O and crew have polished their act up in recent times the same is probably due for this lot but as it hasn't done The Yeah Yeah Yeah's any harm this album is proof that YSPWSD can handle any growth that comes their way.


1st Jul 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

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