The Walkmen You & Me

The Walkmen You & Me
If the Walkmen loosened their ties with A Hundred Miles Off, they’ve ditched them altogether for You & Me. And it’s a good look for the band on their fifth album, as they deliver their loosest and most low-key effort to date, not to mention their most confident. Skipping out on the big hooks and indie anthems, the New York five-piece seem entirely comfortable in an increasingly hazy, low-lit ambiance, one where subtlety trumps immediacy and the restlessness of Bows + Arrows is all but a memory. The setup is familiar for the Walkmen — gangly guitars, swirling organs, dense percussion, Spanish-flavoured trumpets and viola — but it all comes across as more laidback, stripped down and relaxed. And as the momentum slows, the emotion builds, with Hamilton Leithauser’s tearjerker croon laying it on the line now more than ever. Shifting aesthetics aside, You & Me is still very much a Walkmen record, it’s just the first to sound as if the band are happy with where they’re at instead of where they’d like to be. (Gigantic)