In many ways it’s a surprise this took so long to materialise. The Walkmen
put out their first album 12 years ago and since then, the band (and especially the voice of Hamilton Leithauser)
has faced endless comparisons to U2. Why wait until now to challenge everybody’s preconceptions?
One explanation is the singer-songwriter was too busy with Walkmen duties until the group entered an “extreme hiatus” last year.
Another is that Bono’s shadow never particularly darkened Leithauser’s mood.
Certainly, ‘Black Hours’ isn’t any kind of radical departure from The Walkmen. Hamilton Leithauser Black Hours
In fact, listening to its 10 lushly-arranged tracks, it’s easy to listen to this album simply as another release from the New York post-punks.
The energy has been ratcheted up, though, and the infectiously raucous
single ‘Alexandra’ is closer to Arcade Fire than 2012’s languid ‘Heaven’.
Appearances from an array of indie rock luminaries also lend ‘Black Hours’ a richer sonic palette. Hamilton Leithauser Black Hours
Ultimately though, this is the Walkmen: Continued. No bad thing, for sure.
This sense of increased convenience, paired with more careful cherry-picking, is Sabine and Clement’s mantra.
Their acceptance that the Internet has left its mark on dance music is clear
(“fundamentally I don’t think we need to rate whether things are better now versus ten years ago – they’re just different,” points out Clement),
but looking forward with enthusiasm, rather than backward with nostalgia, is the way that the scene as a whole is going to progress, they suggest.
Far from being exclusivists or record-shop snob caricatures, Resident Advisor’s cofounders essentially seem excited that more people than ever are coming to their party.
“I think underground culture is becoming easier to get to and to understand, just by dint of information accessibility, which is great,” says
“Five years ago, if I’d have tried to predict it, I wouldn’t have got anywhere near what has happened,
but I think that these days maybe it’s more socially acceptable to go clubbing, and people are starting to realise that it’s not just about taking
drugs and being off your face.
I would say there are more people than ever listening to dance music now purely for the music.”
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