The Walkmen 

You & Me

Guess that track-for-track remake of Lennon/Nilsson collab Pussy Cats paid off after all. Studying that Lost Weekend classic apparently helped the Walkmen perfect their own stripped-down post-bender-rock. The bare-bones drone that defined previous albums' least accessible tracks still forms the basis for many of the songs on their latest release, but the edges have been smoothed with a warm and fuzzy vintage sound, minimalistic only because there's no need for a single extra note. Though a few tracks remain too loose to immediately engage, the album's highlights succeed with the same basic materials — prominent percussion, wheezing organ, and Hamilton Leithauser's slurred croon, made brilliant through the most minor embellishments. Check out the triumphant whistled coda in "On the Water," for example, or the restrained horn work augmenting "Red Moon" and "Canadian Girl." Garage-y track "Postcards From Tiny Islands," which rides a surf-rock drum swell to a sandy-island guitar breakdown, might be the most elaborate thing here. (Gigantic)

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