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. 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. Ultimately though, this is the Walkmen: Continued. No bad thing, for sure.


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