Hamilton Leithauser - 'Black Hours' - Cover- 2014


01. 5 AM
02. The Silent Orchestra
03. Alexandra
04. 11 O’Clock Friday Night
05. St Mary’s County
06. Self Pity
07. I Retired
08. I Don’t Need Anyone
09. Bless Your Heart
10. The Smallest Splinter
11.Waltz [Deluxe Edition]
12.In Our Time (I’ll Always Love You) [Deluxe Edition]
13.Utrecht [Deluxe Edition]
14.I’ll Never Love Again [Deluxe Edition]”

HAMILTON LEITHAUSER has one of the most distinctive voices in music today. Trembling somewhere between Lou Reed and Joe Strummer, HAMILTON fronted THE WALKMEN for years. With the band now on indefinite and possibly permanent hiatus, HAMILTON has released a promising solo album entitled Black Hours.  With Rostam Batmanglij of VAMPIRE WEEKEND producing (read our interview  for more details), Black Hours is a mix of a lounge singer and forthright rock n roll that features a few stand out, catchy tracks.  While a bit uneven and fragmented at times, Black Hours showcases HAMILTON serious talent as a songwriter.  He said he was influenced by FRANK SINATRA, who’s style he emulates in several songs, especially on the confessional St. Mary’s County, where  thoughtful piano and strings help you picture a man hunched over a grand piano, crooning that “I know the way…home .”  The first single released was the show-stopping Alexandra, which features a undeniably sexy JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE-referencing video  (directed by SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury award winning director Tristan Patterson).  A catchy song which demands accompanying handclaps, the harmonicas and heavy percussion feel lend it a feel good, go-all-out and dance tone.

Black Hours has some A-list indie collaborators. Backing vocals are provided by Amber Coffman from DIRTY PROJECTORS on one of the best tracks, 11 O’Clock Saturday Night. Starting with a nicely rounded xylophone riff, the song grows in slowly emerging layers, and when the guitar comes in, you are glad to be along for the ride with the chorus of “you and me and everybody else.” Paul Marron, the guitarist from THE WALKMEN, contributes to the album, and Morgan Henderson (FLEET FOXES) plays marimba and upright bass. Richard Swift of THE SHINS plays drums and his band HENDERSON AND SWIFT will be the support act for Hamilton on the US tour. WALKMEN-fans will enjoy the traditional sounding tracks Bless Your Heart, The Silent Orchestra and Self Pity.

Throughout, ‘Black Hours’ definitely feels like Hamilton is trying on different genres to see what works, and comes up with a few gems.

NBHAP Rating: 4/5