Hamilton Leithauser, freshly loosed from his Walkmen-fronting duties, seems at ease in this galloping, briskly nostalgic tune and its Sinatra-vibing video. The lyrics hint at moving forward alone, tuning out “all the voices telling me it’s time to sing again” as collaborator Rostam Batmanglij’s harmonica cheers him on. This is the sound of a band briefly eulogized and regained freedom celebrated.
The Walkmen have always occupied significant heartspace for me. I have seen them live on more occasions than any other act, and was lucky enough to see their last performance in DC. Their announced hiatus/dissolution was sad, but not entirely unexpected. They have long carried a kind of career-band vibe to them (not unlike their peers the National): fathers getting together to work 9-to-5 (“dad hours”) on impeccable albums and touring extensively in pristine dark suits. There’s a quiet nobility to that kind of artistic life, but I can also imagine how that can begin to feel stifling after a while. And to their credit, the Walkmen went out with nary a bad album to their name (anyone who’s disparaged A Hundred Miles Off as their weak one needs desperately to listen to it again) and their intra-band friendships seemingly intact.
While the album is called Black Hours, there is brightness here. And looseness. The most fun we ever have is away from the office, away from our daylight commitments. And tellingly, Leithauser has traded in his necktie for a bow tie.
george grosz - costume design for the play “methusalem” (1922)
My fashion icon is Albert Einstein. When he was working on any project, he would have a uniform so he could conserve his brain energy. I do the same thing on tour. I typically have a uniform that I don’t really stray from.
- St. Vincent is the (fashion, artistic, everything) icon we needTags: #st. vincent
That’s high praise, indeed.