"It's louder than lightning in this room of mine"

In the New Year

"The first thing you hear, if you listen really closely, is the skittering string section. Next is the guitar, metallic and reverberant, with downtown New York downstrums on one chord breaking off into a transition that's both fussier and more morose. That's when Hamilton Leithauser's voice, still Dylan-esque, begins: "Oh I'm still living/ At the old address/ And I'm waiting on the weather/ That I know will pass." Drums and bass rumble beneath just as Leithauser proclaims the coming a year a good one, and a catchy organ fill rings out its agreement. And that's how it starts.

The push-pull between drumless verses and loud, swaying, barstool singalong choruses helps make for one of the best Walkmen tracks. There's anguish, too, plainspoken, directed at a lover who "took your sweet time," and delivered with the melancholy dramatic flair of Jeff Buckley without Buckley's (or his followers') occasional meandering overkill. Leithauser's last rasps are lost behind the band's bleary run through one final chorus, and you hear the crash of a cymbal fading out. And that's how it ends."



On rotation

Eagerly awaited

Follow their traces