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Black Hours

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 3, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Inaugurating a new chapter in an already remarkable career from The Walkmen front man, Black Hours the solo debut full length from Hamilton Leithauser. The album brings him full circle and then some, from lonely midwinter piano-and-vocals sessions, to a loud, live Rock n Roll group and back again. Featuring Leithauser with collaborators including Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend), Paul Maroon (The Walkmen), Morgan Henderson (Fleet Foxes), Richard Swift (The Shins/solo), and Amber Coffman (Dirty Projectors), Black Hours showcases Leithauser at his most passionate, personal and free.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 3, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ribbon Records
  • ASIN: B00IU0GPR4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,914 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
“Listen…the summer’s coming…”, a hopeful, forward facing lyric, juxtaposed by a slow and sorrowful piano and string section; nothing new here from the lead singer of the Walkmen…but then, the beat comes in, and things start to feel a bit like a cabaret.
This is the first surprise of many on "Black Hours", a title that certainly doesn't refer to the sound of this album.

Maybe half of "Black Hours" could be mistaken for Walkmen tracks, but the other half? Wow. Who’d have thought the words “jaunty marimba” would ever be used in association with Hamilton Leithauser? There’s the hand claps and honest-to-goodness harmonica of “Alexandra”, a track that’s almost too bright, the jaunty marimba of “The Silent Orchestra”, the ramblin’ Old West feel of “I Retired”, which actually features a “sittin’ ‘round the campfire” singalong portion towards the end, and “I Don’t Need Anyone”, which goes more along the lines of “I don’t need anyone…because I can accomplish anything on my own!” as opposed to “I don’t need anyone…because people will always let you down and, in the end, abandon you. I will die alone.” For the purists, though, there are tracks like “St. Mary’s County”, “5 AM” and “Self Pity”, which opens with a hollow, whistling sound, and then becomes the closet thing to a Walkmen song on here.

"Black Hours" feels like Leithauser turning that smoldering, brooding energy for which the Walkmen are so well known outward; it’s just as intense and beautiful, but brighter: sunlight instead of moonlight. Fans of Walkmen will either love this because of how far from Walkmen Hamilton goes, or they’ll hate it for the same reason. Hopefully the former, because this is a really solid record. It’ll be interesting to see if the light on "Black Hours" makes an appearance on the next Walkmen album (if there is one), but, even if it doesn’t, there’s more than enough here to go around.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
This is a multi-layered, melodic masterpiece that packs a big emotional punch. The former(?) singer for The Walkmen is joined by bandmate Paul Maroon, as well as Richard Swift, Morgan Henderson, etc., making for a varied musical experience that harkens back to the past while sounding resolutely NOW. Whether you buy it here or elsewhere, make the investment in the deluxe edition, which features four additional - and essential - songs. Full review here: http://anearful.blogspot.com/2014/07/make-time-for-black-hours.html#.U7vvNZQ7u-0
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
The best album I've heard in a long time. While I think The Walkmen were ok, this is wonderful. Some indie rock fans might not like that it's not experimental or rough enough, but what seems to be happening is the band's members are putting those years of experience into the application of each member's solo projects, and they are making the best music they've ever made. While I could describe the songs on this album, what I recommend instead is that you watch the videos for the songs on youtube; it'll save both of us a lot of effort. This album is not going to disappoint anyone that loves good music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While I am sorry to see the likely end of one of my favorite bands, The Walkmen, I am encouraged by this solo debut (as I am by the albums made by Peter Bauer and Walter Martin) from Hamilton Leithauser. This is a joyful album; it sounds like an artist happy to re-brand himself in a way. Highly recommended whether you like The Walkmen or not. This is a stand-alone piece of art.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bummed about the Walkmen breaking up? Buy this and be satiated for a moment. Not great, but better than nothing.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If I recall correctly, I bought this album because it showed up on a year-end list of a music magazine I trust. This album has some good points. The songs are all credibily written and the production is good. There just really isn't anything here to grab the listener and there isn't a truly great track on which the album can hang it's hat.

Ultimately, this is one of those solo projects that feels like it was done just to break up the monotony of band life. But the music the band makes (Walkmen) is of higher quality than anything here.
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