HAMILTON LEITHAUSER & PAUL MAROON – I Could Have Sworn (Leithauser & Leithauser EP): So similar did songs like “I Don’t Need Anyone” and “Bless Your Heart” from Leithauser’s 2014 solo debut Black Hours sound like lost Walkmen tracks that the prevailing assumption was he couldn’t shake the signature sound the indie rock group had developed over the course of a decade. But now with two Walter Martin and one Peter Bauer records released, not to mention this EP and the full-length Dear God Leithauser and Maroon released last year, it’s safe to assume Leithauser (and Maroon, since his signature guitar tone was all over Black Hours) was roping The Walkmen into his audial orbit rather than him being unable to escape their pull.
I Could Have Sworn, which was recently released on 180-gram vinyl, isn’t representative of the best of Leithauser’s work, with just three ho-hum ditties and a recycled “Utica Ave” (which admittedly works better as a closer than a second song). But here’s hoping “My Reward” is not lost in the ethos between The Walkmen’s discography and Leithauser’s full-length work, as it’s one of his best songs in years. That said, if you’re not used to Leithauser’s howl and Maroon’s jangly, childlike guitar fifteen years on, you never will be. That’d be a shame, because as grating as the pairing can sometimes be, they’ve carved out a sound all their own: inebriated ramblings interspersed with indecipherable hoots and hollers and a guitar that sounds like its being stabbed rather than strummed. I get why some can’t take it, but I’ve heard little else that resembles it. Also, I like it. B PLUS (*)
Peter Matthew Bauer – Liberation! (Mexican Summer ’14): A MINUS
Walter Martin – We’re All Young Together (Family Jukebox ’14): B PLUS (*)
Hamilton Leithauser – Black Hours (Ribbon Music ’14): A MINUS
The Walkmen – Heaven (Fat Possum ’12): B PLUS (*)