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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The Walkmen back on track

    Sitting in the back behind his drum kit is Matt Barrick. In front is The Walkmen’s Bob Dylan-like crooner, Hamilton Leithauser, whose wailing gets most of the attention.

    But Barrick is the heart of The Walkmen. It’s his driving rhythms that propelled much of The Walkmen’s spectacular Bows and Arrows. On that album’s faster-paced, sometimes frantic tunes, Barrick led the group’s fuzzy noise with his three mainstays: a kick drum, a snare and a hi-hat.

    When things slowed down on Bows and Arrows, Barrick suddenly disappeared, barely making a noise, while Leithauser did most of the work.

    The Walkmen’s new album You and Me focuses more on those slower-moving and beautiful pieces from past efforts and opens them up. Droning organs take on a greater role, horns are thrown in, waltzes actually waltz and Paul Maroon’s omnipresent, jangling guitar is still there. Barrick’s role expands, too.

    In “”Seven Years of Holidays (for Stretch),”” Barrick rolls on his snare intermittently, but spends most of the song exploring sound, instead of simply keeping time. What would’ve worked well as a stark juxtaposition to a heavier track on past Walkmen albums now becomes something entirely different, a poignant and engaging song that isn’t sparse, but filled to the brim.

    When Barrick does disappear, Leithauser and the band step in and produce stunning beauty, such as the slow moving, horn aplenty “”Red Moon.””

    It’s nice to see The Walkmen back on track after the fumbles of A Hundred Miles Off and the Harry Nilsson cover album Pussy Cats, with Barrick leading the band’s resurgence.

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