The Walkmen

You & Me
(Gigantic)

On You & Me, The Walkmen's signature organ wheezes as though it's on the repair bench, and the hazy, back-corner guitar tones haven't changed much, either. One of the decade's most riveting bands channels its energy on this, their fifth album, into electrifying climaxes and a surplus of early '60s-era romantic sentiment. Doubtlessly clad in Frontman Formal Wear, Walkmen singer Hamilton Leithauser slips into a travel-weary rambler's role on waltz "Seven Years of Holidays (For Stretch)," and calls to a lover's window that seems inconveniently adjacent to his corner bar on "Long Time Ahead of Us." He barely enunciates the choruses on "Long Time," but while abbreviated guitar, brass, and floor toms rumble toward its final act, Leithauser again soars like a young Bob Dylan, delivering one of the record's strongest vocal performances. You & Me's lethargy and liveliness, a crop that includes bare-knuckled standouts "In the New Year" and "I Lost You," partners as elegantly with the Walkmen's recent Leonard Cohen covers as it does with the sparse hangover anthems that pepper the act's early catalog. This set hardly strays from what got them here, but that couldn't matter less.

 
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