Black Hours (Deluxe Edition)

Black Hours (Deluxe Edition)

While Hamilton Leithauser has pointed to crooners like Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, and Randy Newman as influences on his first solo record, you won’t hear them on Black Hours. At least, not overtly. Stylistically, you might catch a hint of Ol’ Blue Eyes on “5 AM” or a whiff of Newman’s somber piano pop on tune like “St. Mary’s County,” but here the frontman of The Walkmen (currently on “extreme hiatus”) sounds more like that band on effusive numbers like “Alexandra” and “11 O’Clock Friday Night.” The pop jewel “I Don’t Need Anyone” has reedy guitars and indie-thoroughbred blood; horns, strings, harmonica, and marimba make strong bedfellows for Leithauser’s vocals on songs like “I Retired” and “The Silent Orchestra.” With guests like Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman, Fleet Foxes’ Morgan Henderson, The Shins’ Richard Swift, and Paul Maroon of The Walkmen, Black Hours feels satisfyingly textured and alive, and even exciting with its comforting familiarity. Don’t miss the bonus tracks: the surprising “Waltz” or the supremely moving “In Our Time.”

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