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Music  |  Reviews

The Walkmen: You & Me

[Gigantic]

August 22, 2008  |  3:14pm
The Walkmen: <em>You & Me</em>
A uniformly compelling fine tuning of an already-luminary act

You & Me, a dark and pensive refinement of six years of music, ousts The Walkmen from the streets of New York City to locales both exotic and familiar. These forays into new territory  breathe life into well-worn songwriting, and demonstrate why their place in the pantheon of the New Gods of indie rock is justly earned.

The instrumentation conspicuously lacks the aural immediacy of the band's past work, but isn't any worse for the loss. Melodic post-punk gives way to a wider sonic landscape, yielding to muted tones that dovetail comfortably with Hamilton Leithauser’s now-audible vocals. The shimmering guitar riffs of  “On the Water” meet a thudding bass line head on as cymbal crashes suggest the fury of a turbulent sea. The emotive drum-circle stomp of high water mark “Four Provinces” moves meticulously, revealing a band that is at once introspective and unreserved, gazing inward as it grasps for fresher ground.

It’s difficult and nuanced terrain to cover, and the triumphant catharsis of “The Rat” is nowhere to be found, but the biggest surprise here is that The Walkmen sound more at home in these new expanses than they ever did in the confines of the city.

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