You & Me (Gigantic)

Rating: NNN

When the Walkmen released their song-for-song cover of Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats two years ago, it was thought the band might be getting a little too eccentric. Were they in danger of falling victim to whatever career-poisoning curse currently plagues fellow early-decade New York bands like the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Maybe that was their plan all along – lower expectations, then hit us with something as engaging as You & Me.

This album feels firmly in the gutter, and that’s a positive for slurring Dylan-phile Hamilton Leithauser, who moans and wails throughout, ruminating about lost friends and lovers while the guitars pour reverb-drenched notes over his sepia moments. At 50-plus minutes, his histrionics begin to wane, but not before you’ve been charmed by his sincerity.

The Walkmen hit the Horseshoe Wednesday (September 10).

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